Background: This qualitative study sought to develop an understanding of how young adults between the ages of 18-25 years, who have a history of two or more suicide attempts, transition away from high-risk suicide-related behaviors.
Aims: To understand the transition to safer behaviors and to provide clinical suggestions for those who provide care to this population.
Methods: Sixteen young adults under the age of 25 years, who had completed at least one cycle of intervention for people with repeated suicide attempts, participated in this qualitative, grounded theory study.
Results: The young adults described a pathway that included three major elements: (a) "living to die", (b) ambivalence and tipping/turning points, and (c) a process of recovery that included small steps or phases (pockets of recovery) toward life. The journey was not always experienced as steady movement forward, and the potential for relapse either in the young people's behavior or their wish to engage in their relationship with death could ebb and flow.
Conclusions: Clinicians need to be aware that the struggle to live is a process involving a fluid pathway moving between three key elements.