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Patient Suicide: The Experience of Flemish Psychiatrists

Authors

  • Inês Areal Rothes MA,

    Corresponding author
    • Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • Gert Scheerder PhD,

    1. LUCAS (Center for Care Research and Consultancy), Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
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  • Chantal Van Audenhove PhD,

    1. LUCAS (Center for Care Research and Consultancy), Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
    2. Academic Center for General Practice, Department of Public Health, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
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  • Margarida Rangel Henriques PhD

    1. Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • This paper was funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology as an Investigation Scholarship of QREN – POPH – Typology 4.1 – Advanced Training subsidized for the European Social Fund and national funds of MCTES. We express our gratitude to Guido Pieters, MD, PhD, for the collaboration of the Flemish Federation of Psychiatrists and to the psychiatrists for their participation.

Address correspondence to Inês Areal Rothes, Gabinete de Pós-graduação em Psicologia, Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto, Rua Alfredo Allen 4200-135 Porto, Portugal; E-mail: irothes@gmail.com or dout07021@fpce.up.pt

Abstract

The experience of the most distressing patient suicide on Flemish psychiatrists is described. Of 584 psychiatrists, 107 filled a self-report questionnaire. Ninety-eight psychiatrists had been confronted with at least one patient suicide. Emotional suffering and impotence were the most common feelings reported. Changes in professional practice were described and included a more structured approach to the management of suicidal patients. Colleagues and contact with the patient's family were the most frequently used sources of help, whereas team case review and colleagues were rated as the most useful ones. Patient suicide leads to emotional suffering and has a considerable professional impact.

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