Patient Suicide in Residency Training: The Ripple Effect
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Availability
On-Demand
Expires on Aug 31, 2025
Cost
Member: $15.62
Non-Member: $31.25
Medical Student: $0.00
Resident Fellow Member: $0.00
Credit Offered
1.25 CME Credits
1.25 COP Credits

While the likelihood that a psychiatrist will experience a patient suicide during their career varies greatly by clinical setting, patient volume and patient population, studies estimates that anywhere from 20-68% of psychiatrists will lose a patient to suicide during their career. A significant number of trainees will experience patient suicide during their training, yet discussions about their experience remains rare in training programs and scant in published literature. Across fields of medicine, residents report feeling unprepared to manage their own feelings about death. Prior research suggests that receiving emotional support is the most important coping mechanism for trainees who are recovering from a patient’s death, but, unfortunately, most trainees report that they have coped in isolation and that their emotional needs were unmet. Most residents and many faculty report feeling unprepared to help trainees cope with patient’s death. The silence of peers and mentors following the suicide of a patient may be due to uncomfortable feelings that occur after a patient dies by suicide. Feelings of shame, loss, fear, confusion and helplessness may arise in the trainee who cared for the patient as well as their peers, supervisors, program directors and hospital leadership. These feelings may lead others to distance the trainee after the death, and thus leave the trainee to experience this loss in isolation. Avoiding discussions of patient suicide may interfere with trainees’ ability to cope an recover from this potentially traumatic event.  Psychiatry training programs need to prepare future psychiatrists for the potential experience of losing a patient to suicide and actively support their residents through this difficult experience when it occurs. A video titled “Collateral Damage: The Impact of Patient Suicide on the Psychiatrist” was developed as a discussion stimulus for psychiatry trainees, faculty, and practicing psychiatrists to explore the experience of losing a patient to suicide. A study by Prabhakar et. al. examined the impact of using this video in combination with support systems within residency training programs. His study showed an increased awareness of issues related to patient suicide in residents who underwent the training and highlighted potential benefits of its broader implementation. With that in mind, this session features residents (in real time) and faculty (via selected vignettes from Collateral Damages) openly discussing their personal experiences with losing a patient to suicide, discusses ways these types of testimonies can be used in residency training and other educational programs and provides ample opportunity for audience participation.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand experiences of psychiatry trainees who have lost a patient to suicide
  • Recognize grief, distress and impact of potential traumatic sequelae among psychiatry trainees who experience the suicide of a patient
  • Identify institutional and systemic barriers to providing adequate emotional support to psychiatry trainees who experience a patient suicide
  • Organize conversation about the impact of patient suicide within their own educational institution and training programs
  • Develop initiatives to better prepare trainees and support them after the suicide of a patient

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Residents/Fellows, Medical Students

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 75 minutes
Begin Date: September 1, 2022
End Date: August 31, 2025

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

Program Presenters

  • Sidney Zisook, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Yi Yen Annie Yeh. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Kortni Ferguson. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Joan Anzia. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Rachel Conrad, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners

  • Jacqueline Maus Feldman, M.D., Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Robert O. Cotes, M.D., Vice-Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Uchenna Okeye, M.D., Vice-Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Katie Putnam, Membership Development Specialist, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Ally Brown, Former Associate Director, Online Learning, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Vishal Madaan, MD, Chief of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact educme@psych.org for questions about this activity | Contact learningcenter@psych.org for technical assistance

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