Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 340–344

Encountering Patient Suicide: A Resident’s Experience

Authors

    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Janet Kemp
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Arshdeep Jawandha
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Jakub Juros
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Laura Long
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Sonali Nanayakkara
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Christian Stepansky
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • L. Brian Thompson
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
  • Joan Anzia
    • Department of PsychiatryNorthwestern University/McGaw Medical Center
Special Collection: Encountering Patient Suicide Special Collection

DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.31.5.340

Cite this article as:
Fang, F., Kemp, J., Jawandha, A. et al. Acad Psychiatry (2007) 31: 340. doi:10.1176/appi.ap.31.5.340

Abstract

Objective

The authors reviewed the current literature for psychiatry residents’ reactions to the suicide of a patient. This review also examines the responses of training programs to residents after such an incident.

Method

Using Ovid Medline, the authors conducted a review of the scientific literature from 1966 to 2006, with search phrases consisting of: “patient suicide,” “residency training programs,” “psychiatry residents,” and “therapists-in-training.”

Results

There are a limited number of studies exploring residents’ experiences following a patient suicide. Furthermore, only two studies examined the supportive measures that U.S. psychiatry training programs provide for residents afterwards. The few studies published suggest that the suicide of a patient is quite common during training and that residents undergo significant levels of psychological stress. Residency programs have yet to establish formal training and support systems to help trainees deal with these stressors.

Conclusions

The findings from this review support further investigation into the effects of patient suicide on residents and the implementation of formal supports within psychiatry training.

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2007