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Journal of Psychiatric Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000426330.41773.15
Practitioner's Corner

Exploring the Impact of Suicide on Clinicians: A Multidisciplinary Retreat Model


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Objective. We developed an every other year, scheduled retreat model for clinicians and trainees to explore emotional and professional reactions that they may face after a patient’s suicide. Methods. Psychiatry ambulatory clinical staff, residents, and faculty participated in a halfday retreat, which consisted of an opening panel discussion, in which panel members related their experiences of patient suicide, break out groups, and a final panel discussion. Unlinked preand post-retreat surveys were electronically sent to all potential participants. Results. The pre-retreat survey was completed by 103 clinicians; 20% of the respondents were trainees or fellows, and 47% reported that they had experienced a patient suicide. Text responses to the pre-retreat survey reflected the wish to obtain a better understanding of the impact of patient suicide on caregivers, to cope with the event from a personal and professional standpoint, and to get a clearer understanding of what supports are available within the department. The post-retreat survey was completed by 45 clinicians. Comments after the retreat reflected an increased awareness of both shortand long-term effects on clinicians after a patient suicide and the extensive impact that a patient suicide can have on providers within their ambulatory care department. Conclusion. An alldepartment ambulatory retreat model has value in providing clinicians with support and information in a structured, educational setting to help reduce the sense of stigma and provide an increased awareness of the magnitude of the impact on clinicians who experience the death of a patient by suicide.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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