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Crisis. 2014 Jan 1;35(4):253-60. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000259.

Shadows from the past: the situated meaning of being suicidal among depressed older people living in the community.

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  • 1<location>Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Kongsberg, Norway</location>
  • 2<location>School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada</location> <location>School of Nursing, University of Coimbra, Portugal</location> <location>Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Malta</location>



Most depressed older people in a suicidal state have mixed feelings, where the wish to live and the wish to die wage a battle.


To explore and describe depressed older people's experiences of being suicidal and their search for meaning.


Data were collected from 29 participants resident in the Rogaland and Vestfold districts of Norway, by means of individual interviews, after which a thematic analysis was performed.


For the participants in this study, the lived experiences of the situated meaning of survival after being suicidal comprised a main theme - "shadows from the past" - and two themes - "feeling that something inside is broken" and "a struggle to catch the light."


Mental health-care professionals might be able to reduce the risk of suicide and perturbation by helping depressed older people to explore, resolve, and ultimately come to terms with their unresolved historical issues. Additional valuable strategies in primary care settings include encountering patients frequently, monitoring adherence to care plans, and providing support to address the source of emotional pain and distress.


depression; experiences; older people; situated meaning; suicidal

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