If a patient dies by suicide

This section has been created to support psychiatrists during the difficult time after a patient has died by suicide.

The resources on this page have been developed with the help of a working group consisting of members who have experienced the death of a patient by suicide during their careers. The College has now a reflective group for psychiatrists impacted by the death of a patient by suicide.


A booklet has been published to support members. Endorsed by our President, Dr Adrian James, it is called 'If a patient dies by suicide – a resource for psychiatrists'.

The booklet and the survey that informed it were produced at the University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research by a multidisciplinary group of clinicians and researchers – including many of the RCPsych working group.

This group was led by Professor Keith Hawton and included Fiona Brand, Alison Croft, Dr Rachel Gibbons, Dr Anne Carbonnier, Karen Lascelles, Melsina Makaza, Dr Gerti Stegen and Dr Gislene Wolfart.


We've created a short series of videos called 'Creative conversations about suicide'.

For all except the last one, you'll need to log in to access the video.

The effect on psychiatrists from patient suicide

Working helpfully with families after a patient dies by suicide

Suicidal ideation, its meaning and living with it

Suicide and the risk elephant

Talking to suicidal patients


In this podcast, Ella Marchant (our Social Media and Digital Assets Officer) sat down with Dr Ros Ramsay and Dr Rachel Gibbons to discuss the booklet, and specifically the kinds of support that are available to psychiatrists and the inevitable philosophical questions that suicide provokes.

A personal account

In this personal account, Dr Anne Carbonnier discusses how the suicide of one of her patients affected her.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry