An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of the experiential perspectives of volunteer befrienders, pertaining to causes of suicidality and prevention

Macdonald-Hart, Steven and Colucci, Erminia ORCID logoORCID: (2020) An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of the experiential perspectives of volunteer befrienders, pertaining to causes of suicidality and prevention. Journal of Suicide Prevention, 2 (1) , e2020003. pp. 15-30. [Article]

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Background and Objectives: Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people age 15 to 29 and is estimated to be responsible for 800,000 deaths, annually. With each death by suicide, there are approximately 20 attempted suicides. In the United Kingdom, suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 20 to 35 and for women aged 35 to 49. The dominant research and preventative initiatives exist through a medical lens; a perspective that often receives criticism for not incorporating social and culturally relevant variables. To date, research into alternative methods of support for the suicidal is scarce. This study seeks to obtain information pertaining to suicidality from the perspective of volunteer befrienders at MayTree Respite Centre, a London-based charity known for offering non-medical support for the suicidal. The objectives of the study were to explore the common causal themes of suicidality, perspectives of the medical model approach to suicide, as well as the limitations and advantages of the MayTree model.
Materials and Methods: Data was collected through 8 semi-structured individual interviews with MayTree Volunteers. The interviews were audio-recorded and subsequently transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach.
Results: A total of 4 superordinate themes emerged: suicide as a means through which to escape one’s problems; causal attributions of suicidality, which contained adverse life experiences, low self-concept, as well as isolation and not being heard; perceptions of the medical model, which included a reductionist correlation between biology and suicide, as well as stigma; limitations to the MayTree model, encapsulating their drug and alcohol policy, as well as duration of stay/follow-ups; and advantages to the MayTree model, reported as the benefits of be-friending and of a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Conclusion: It was highlighted neither model could be deemed superior to the other, rather that these approaches would be more effective if greater collaboration was evident. Collaborative efforts do appear to be demonstrated by MayTree, through its recognition of the complexity of certain cases of suicidality, and professional care needed when this arises.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 34929
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Depositing User: Erminia Colucci
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2022 14:46
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 21:53

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