"When You're in the Hospital, You're in a Sort of Bubble."

Amanda Owen-Smith, Olive Bennewith, Jenny Donovan, Jonathan Evans, Keith Hawton, Nav Kapur, Susan O'Connor, David Gunnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Individuals are at a greatly increased risk of suicide and self-harm in the months following discharge from psychiatric hospital, yet little is known about the reasons for this. Aims: To investigate the lived experience of psychiatric discharge and explore service users' experiences following discharge. Method: In-depth interviews were undertaken with recently discharged service users (n = 10) in the UK to explore attitudes to discharge and experiences since leaving hospital. Results: Informants had mixed attitudes to discharge, and those who had not felt adequately involved in discharge decisions, or disagreed with them, had experienced urges to self-harm since being discharged. Accounts revealed a number of factors that made the postdischarge period difficult; these included both the reemergence of stressors that existed prior to hospitalization and a number of stressors that were prompted or exacerbated by hospitalization. Conclusion: Although inferences that can be drawn from the study are limited by the small sample size, the results draw attention to a number of factors that could be investigated further to help explain the high risk of suicide and self-harm following psychiatric discharge. Findings emphasize the importance of adequate preparation for discharge and the maintenance of ongoing relationships with known service providers where possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-60
Number of pages7
JournalCrisis: Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research

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