Helping Residents Cope With a Patient Suicide

Having a patient die by suicide is one of the most difficult events to deal with during a psychiatrist’s career, but is especially hard during residency. It is common for residents to blame themselves and to experience a myriad of emotions in response.

This information is intended to provide you with support, to help you learn from the experience of patient suicide, and to grow as a psychiatrist and as a person. It was initially developed by Columbia University psychiatry residents who had patients who died by suicide, and was revised by several faculty members who have also had experience with patient suicide and wanted to help residents through the process.

Common Reactions

How to cope

Questions for supervisors

Useful References

APA's Practice Guidelines on Assessing and Treating Suicidal Behaviors

Download Full Practice Guideline

Download Quick Reference Guide

Additional Resources and Organizations:


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