Supporting mental health staff following the death of a patient by suicide


A prevention and postvention framework

CR234, December 2022

More must be done to both recruit and retain psychiatrists if services are to be in place that effectively meet the needs of patients. That means the health and wellbeing of psychiatrists must be considered fully.

One area that can be particularly traumatic for psychiatrists and calls for support from employing bodies is when one of their patients dies by suicide. Families of those who died often want answers and therefore a psychiatrist who is able to participate effectively in any follow-up activity is also important to them.

That is why the College, working with the Oxford Centre for Suicide Research, have produced this report which provides employers of psychiatrists and other policy makers with guidance, that, if implemented, can mitigate the damaging impact of patient death by suicide on staff involved in their care – which can include burnout, mental health problems and, in some cases, staff leaving the mental health sector altogether.

We believe this guidance can make a profound difference to affected staff and clinicians and therefore encourage all those responsible for supporting their health and wellbeing to actively work on this important area by implementing the conclusions in this report.
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