Objective To identify the effect of patients' suicide on consultant psychiatrists in Scotland,
Design Confidential coded postal questionnaire sun ev.
Participants Of 315 eligible consultant psychiatrists, 247 (78%) contributed.
Main outcome measures Experience of patient suicide; the features and impact of "most distressing" suicide and what helped them to deal with it.
Results 167 (68%) consultants had had a patient commit suicide under their care. Fifty four (33%) reported being affected personally in terms of low mood, poor sleep, or irritability. Changes in professional practice were described by 69 (42%) of the psychiatrists-for example, a more structured approach to the management of patients at risk and increased use of mental health legislation, Twenty four (15%) doctors considered taking early retirement because of a patient's suicide. Colleagues and family or friends were the best sources of help, and team and critical incident reviews were also useful.
Conclusions Suicide by patients has a substantial emotional and professional effect on consultant psychiatrists. Support from colleagues is helpful, and professional reviews provide opportunities for learning and improved management of suicide and its aftermath.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||British Medical Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|