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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How Patient Suicide Affects Psychiatrists

By Sulome Anderson
The Atlantic
Originally posted January 20, 2015

It’s hard to listen to a psychiatrist who sounds so broken. I expect a mental-health provider to seem healthy, detached. But even over the phone, the weariness in Dr. Brown’s voice is palpable.

“This is what we do when people die,” he says. “Even if they die an expected death, it seems to be human nature to go back over [it]. What should I have said that I didn't, or shouldn’t have said that I did? Could I have done more or did I do too much? This seems to be a part of the grieving process. I think it's especially intense in a situation where you have direct responsibility for helping the person get better.”

Brown lost a patient to suicide last year. She was a long-term client of his, the mother of a large, loving family. Right after a session with him, she went home and killed herself. Two months later, Brown’s son did the same thing.

The entire article is here.