Background. Suicide and suicide attempts are commonly encountered in primary healthcare. To manage them competently and in a non-judgmental manner, health workers require an in-depth understanding of this problem. Objective. To determine the reasons for suicide attempts among patients admitted at Tshilidzini Hospital. Method. A descriptive qualitative study used an unstructured in-depth interview for data collection, with 10 purposively selected participants. The data were analysed thematically. Results. The participants gave the following reasons for their suicidal acts: poverty, unemployment and its associated financial difficulties; domestic violence; interpersonal conflicts; HIV/AIDS-related problems; maternal death; depression; hallucinations; and accusations of witchcraft. These factors interacted, producing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and lack of meaning in life, thereby driving the individual to resort to desperate measures. The choice of method for each suicide attempt was influenced by availability, knowledge, experience and the seriousness of intent to die. Conclusion. This study supports the idea that a suicidal act is a complex phenomenon arising in an distinctive way in each individual, based on the interplay of various factors.