The Impact of Suicide on Co-patients

The Impact of Suicide on Co-patients While there is a large literature on the impact of patient suicide on care providers and on family members, and a small literature on the impact of hospital suicide on inpatients and on surviving members of a therapy group, nothing has been written about the effect of a suicide on patients in a community mental health facility. This paper discusses the potential for ripple effects and the need for extra care and surveillance when a patient commits suicide in an outpatient program for the seriously mentally ill. The paper draws on related literature (suicide in groups, hospitals, schools, and college campuses) and, using examples from a clinic for women with psychosis, makes recommendations for psychiatric intervention post suicide. After the trauma of suicide, staff needs protected time to inform and support survivors, taking special care with those seen as most vulnerable. Following a trauma such as suicide, patients tend to stay near a source of comfort, and may require extra staff time. Survivors need to make sense of what happened and to honor the dead. This brings privacy concerns to the fore, as well as staff ambivalence about the respect due to a person who should be remembered, but should not serve as a role model to fellow patients who are susceptible to contagion effects. The review that follows a suicide can lead to closure for staff and patients and to the development of a protocol to follow should similar incidents recur. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Quarterly Springer Journals

The Impact of Suicide on Co-patients

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Psychiatry; Public Health; Sociology, general
ISSN
0033-2720
eISSN
1573-6709
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11126-015-9346-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While there is a large literature on the impact of patient suicide on care providers and on family members, and a small literature on the impact of hospital suicide on inpatients and on surviving members of a therapy group, nothing has been written about the effect of a suicide on patients in a community mental health facility. This paper discusses the potential for ripple effects and the need for extra care and surveillance when a patient commits suicide in an outpatient program for the seriously mentally ill. The paper draws on related literature (suicide in groups, hospitals, schools, and college campuses) and, using examples from a clinic for women with psychosis, makes recommendations for psychiatric intervention post suicide. After the trauma of suicide, staff needs protected time to inform and support survivors, taking special care with those seen as most vulnerable. Following a trauma such as suicide, patients tend to stay near a source of comfort, and may require extra staff time. Survivors need to make sense of what happened and to honor the dead. This brings privacy concerns to the fore, as well as staff ambivalence about the respect due to a person who should be remembered, but should not serve as a role model to fellow patients who are susceptible to contagion effects. The review that follows a suicide can lead to closure for staff and patients and to the development of a protocol to follow should similar incidents recur.

Journal

Psychiatric QuarterlySpringer Journals

Published: Jan 25, 2015

References

  • Suicide clusters: A review of risk factors and mechanisms
    Haw, C; Hawton, K; Niedzwiedz, C; Platt, S
  • Serious untoward incidents and their aftermath in acute inpatient psychiatry: The Tompkins Acute Ward Study
    Bowers, L; Simpson, A; Eyres, S; Nijman, H; Hall, C; Grange, A; Phillips, L
  • Stress-reactivity in psychosis: evidence for an affective pathway to psychosis
    Myin-Germeys, I; Os, J
  • Resilience and thriving: Issues, models, and linkages
    Carver, CS
  • The association of suicide rates with individual-level suicide attitudes: A cross-national analysis
    Stack, S; Kposowa, AJ

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