Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-13-2022


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Rick Zoucha

Committee Member

Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Allyson D. Abrams


adolescents, LGBTQ+, suicidality, emergency care, psychological safety


Purpose: Suicide is a leading cause of death in children; youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are at an exponentially higher risk of suicide. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of young adults who identify as LGBTQ+ and sought emergency care for suicidality when they were adolescents.

Methods: Heideggerian hermeneutics phenomenology is the research method used in this study. Youth, ages 18-25 years, who identify as LGBTQ+ and sought emergency treatment for suicidality when they were adolescents (13-17 years) were recruited to participate;fifteen youth enrolled. Individuals ranged in age from 20 to 25 years. Participants described their ethnicity as: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Isander and Hispanic, and Other. Individuals described their gender identity as male, female, non-binary, transgender female, and their sexual orientation as: female, demisexual, bisexual, gay, homosexual, lesbian, queer, asexual, and transgender.

Results: This study establishes that youth who identify as LGBTQ+ seeking emergency care for suicidality value these shared meanings: 1) coping and control, 2) acceptance from others and self, 3) communicating with me about me, and 4) moving beyond danger and distress. Lack of psychological safety—from the emic perspective of individuals—emerged as a critical finding.

Conclusion: The outcome of this research has strong implications for clinical practice, policy, and research. Future research must seek to understand ways in which psychological safety is assessed in the healthcare setting if we are to more deeply understand and effectively address the impact on health equity and health disparities.