Front-line practitioner’s experience of working with children or youth engaged in suicidal behaviour




Ranahan, Patricia

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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experience of front-line practitioners working with suicidal children and youth. Five front-line practitioners who had experienced working with children or youth who were suicidal participated in the semi-structured interviews. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed and summarized under the following three areas of experience: Participants' Descriptions of Working with Suicidal Children and Youth, Knowledge Valued by Participants' to Inform their Practice with Suicidal Children and Youth, and Participants' Physical and Emotional Responses to Suicidal Children and Youth. There were a total of sixteen emergent theme clusters. The themes related to the experience of practice with suicidal children and youth provided a rich context for understanding the nature of meaning of the suicidal behaviors for participants. The emergent themes relating to the knowledge valued by participants to guide their approach provided a specific understanding of the multiple sources of knowledge participants were drawing from in the encounters. The emergent themes relating to the physical and emotional responses participants experienced in relation to their encounters with a suicidal child or youth provided an awareness of the impact the encounters had on participants. The major findings included the participants' broad scope of knowledge they used to guide their approach, as well as that encounters with suicidal children and youth did evoke strong physical and emotional responses amongst participants. The study concludes by describing the implications of these findings for Child and Youth Care practice and for future directions in research.



children, youth, suicidal behavior