Suicide Through the Eyes of Fellow Patients (1920–2020)




Suicide, Psychiatric Nursing, Patient Perspective, 20th Century, Autobiographical Novels, Narrative History


This article shows how suicides in psychiatric hospitals were described by fellow patients in the past and how these descriptions relate to developments in the context of nursing and care. This is a hitherto unexplored area of research. From the sources – six autobiographical novels about life in psychiatric hospitals – it can be tentatively concluded that, whether the story is set in 1920, 1970 or 2010, three factors are almost always represented: suicide is a ubiquitous phenomenon in the psychiatric hospital, it has a great impact on fellow patients, and patients can be very concerned about the fate of their fellow patients. However, some differ-ences can also be pointed out that have to do with the time in which the story is set. More research is needed to support and deepen the preliminary conclusions