Original Research

Setting a lived experience agenda for rural suicidality research in Canada


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Kimberley D Ryan
1 RPN, RN, BScN, MEd (Distance Ed. Spec.), Associate Professor *

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Sharran Mullins
2 RPN, BA, BScPN, MPN, Assistant Professor

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Andrea Thomson
3 RPN, BScPN, MPN, Assistant Professor

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Rachel V Herron
4 PhD, Associate Professor

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Candice Waddell-Henowitch
5 RPN, BScPN, MPN, PhD(c), Associate Professor

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Kyrra Rauch
6 BA, Research Associate

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Donna Epp
7 RN, Research Facilitator


1, 2, 3, 5 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Health Studies, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

4 Department of Geography and Environment, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

6, 7 Centre for the Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health, Faculty of Health Studies, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

ACCEPTED: 16 August 2022

early abstract:

Introduction: The perspectives of rural communities, specifically people with lived experience of suicidality and suicide loss in rural places, are often neglected in suicide research. It is critical that rural and remote health researchers acquire a deeper understanding of suicidality in rural Canadian communities for generation of relevant knowledge to better inform the development of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention solutions. This article presents research findings of how rural residents understand their community values, what information gaps they identify in relation to current suicide research, and how research can be mobilized to reach rural communities.
Method: Researchers conducted six virtual focus groups with 47 participants from the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland between March and May 2021. All focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results: Focus group findings revealed the need for research that recognizes the significance of rural culture, the sense of community experienced and the ways in which they shape rural suicide experiences with associated impacts of suicide. Participatory, community-based action research methods are required to examine the interplay between rural residence, community, and suicide. In addition, the voices of rural people with lived experience of suicide are absent in the research literature. The need exists for qualitative research conducted for the purpose of investigating the lived experience of rural suicidality.
Conclusion: Research participants asked that a lived experience agenda be prioritized to include the voices and stories of rural people, with consideration of rural culture; an aspect or rural suicidality currently not evident in Canadian research literature.