Suicidal behavior is a significant global public health problem. Despite this, many health care professionals remain unaware of the distinction among suicidal behavior, self-mutilation, and deliberate self-harm. The aim of this study was to conduct a concept analysis of suicidal behavior.
Method: Walker and Avant's 8-step method of concept analysis was used to examine the concept of suicidal behavior. Sources for analysis were identified using a systematic search of Medline, CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source, and the reference lists of related journal articles.
Results: Suicidal behavior was found to be associated with a constellation of external hazards and internal crises, lack of coping mechanisms and social support structures, and degree of suicidal intent, which, in the worst-case scenario, results in successful suicide. The antecedents of suicidal behavior are vulnerability characteristics that make painful events seem unbearable, and the consequences are death or failed suicide. In cases of failure, the medical consequences may be serious and long lasting.
Conclusions: Defining the concept of suicidal behavior provides a basis for public health nurses to better understand suicidal behavior, thus improving their ability to care for suicidal patients during home visits.