Suicide: qualitative data from focus group interviews with youth

Soc Sci Med. 1997 Nov;45(10):1563-70. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(97)00098-1.


Suicide is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people aged 15-24 years of age. This paper illustrates the use of focus groups with young people to enhance knowledge of ways to address youth suicide. Analysis of the findings identified three themes perceived by participants as being warning signs of a suicidal friend (personality changes, risk-taking behaviour and unusual actions). An important finding, which has implications for the planning of further suicide prevention strategies, was that young people would either cope alone or turn to a friend if they were feeling suicidal. The fact that a lack of knowledge was identified as the major barrier to youth using existing services/resources suggests that health promotion awareness campaigns which provide information on where young people could access help need to be developed. The use of focus groups with young people has provided valuable insights into ways to address youth suicide. We urge other researchers to incorporate similar methodologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Peer Group
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / psychology*