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Acad Psychiatry. 2012 Jan 1;36(1):29-33. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.10010006.

Coping with a patient's suicide: a curriculum for psychiatry residency training programs.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



The suicide of a patient is often experienced as a traumatic event by the clinician involved. Many articles have identified the need for education to guide clinicians through the aftermath of patient suicide; however, little has been published on development of such a curriculum, particularly for residents. This article describes one residency training program's development of an organized curriculum on coping with patient suicide and evaluates the impact of a core aspect of the training on clinicians' knowledge about and confidence with coping with patient suicide.


The training includes a biennial half-day workshop for all trainees plus an "as-needed curriculum" used after a completed suicide. A total of 42 clinicians (39 psychiatry residents and 3 psychiatry faculty) participated in a workshop on coping with patient suicide. Their attitudes and knowledge about the topic were assessed before and after the training.


Participation in the workshop was associated with large and statistically significant increases in knowledge and self-perceptions of competence in coping with patient suicide.


The addition of a curriculum on coping with patient suicide has the potential to significantly enhance psychiatric residency training.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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