Suicide in Correctional Settings: Assessment, Prevention, and Professional Liability

This article reviews the suicide risk assessment procedure as it pertains to incarcerated individuals. Research on correctional suicide risk factors is briefly outlined as a prelude to discussing current methods of clinical suicide risk assessment & prevention in correctional settings. A comprehensive & reliable procedure for eliciting suicide ideation, behaviour, planning, desire, & intent is […]

Degree of Proof Necessary to Establish Proximate Causation of Suicide

This article discusses the case of Thompson versus Patton in which the Supreme Court of Alabama reviewed the trial court’s decision to grant a motion for summary judgment in favour of the defendant in a malpractice suit alleging negligence by a psychiatrist who discharged a patient from the hospital 3 days before the patient’s suicide. […]

Suicide Prevention and Intervention

With appropriate attention & thoughtful planning, the risk of student suicide can be minimized. In this article, the authors discuss the role of schools in suicide prevention & intervention. Programs should include awareness education & screening, crisis & mental health team coordination, collaboration with community services, reliance on evidence-based strategies, & clear intervention & postvention […]

Principles for Developing Organisational Policies and Protocols for Responding to Clients at Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm

Malpractice Liability in Suicide

This article discusses malpractice liability in the United States as it pertains to clinicians working with suicidal patients. The discussion is interspersed with information from judicial rulings. Strategies to avoid malpractice suits are outlined. (8 refs.)

Options in Suicidal Crisis

This article briefly outlines possible causes for the prevalence of suicide attempts among college students & then discusses various options for handling such crises: whether to notify the student’s closest relatives; whether to obtain medical evaluation & treatment (as opposed to psychological counselling); & whether to allow the student to remain in school.

Contracting for Safety With Patients: Clinical Practice and Forensic Implications

A literature review was done to assess empirical support for contracts for safety. Legal cases in which this practice was employed are reviewed to examine its effect on outcome. Studies were obtained from a PubMed search. Overall, empirically based evidence to support the use of the contract for safety in any population is very limited, […]

Liability in Patient Suicide

This article reviews three cases from the United States in which clinicians were sued for malpractice after the suicide or attempted suicide of a patient. In all three cases, the jury found for the defense. The author notes 4 things plaintiffs must show to win a malpractice claim: duty to care, negligence, harm, & causation. […]

Practice, not Malpractice. 3 Clinical Habits to Reduce Liability Risk

This article offers general recommendations – not legal advice – based on court decisions & other evidence for managing traditional risks such as patient violence, suicide, adverse drug reactions, sex with patients, faulty termination of treatment, & supervisory & consultative relationships. Newer risks such as recovered memories, off-label prescribing, practice guidelines, & e-mail & confidentiality […]

Responsibility and Liability in Cases of Suicide by Patient in Hospital Premises

This article examines the responsibility & liability of hospital managers in the event of patient suicide. In light of the increasing incidence of suicides in hospital premises in India, the author discusses this situation at length. A few cases are presented with the aim of creating a debate on this issue. (7 refs.)

When Students Kill Themselves, Colleges may get the Blame

This publication discusses the most common claims against American colleges & universities with respect to student suicides. The most common claims have been: the institution put the student in harm’s way; the institution failed to recognize suicide warning signs; & the institution failed to respond appropriately to warning signs. It is stated that, legally, the […]

Suicide on Campus: the Appropriate Legal Responsibility of College Personnel (Washington & Lee Public Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2007-19)

In response to the continuing debate over the degree of responsibility, if any, that college personnel who are aware of a student’s suicide threats or attempts should be held liable for their failure to take reasonable prevention steps, centering most particularly on a duty to notify parents, this paper proposes a rule of law. The […]

University Policy and Procedural Responses to Students at Risk of Suicide (Paper No.35)

This paper focuses on the current procedural protections in university policies handling students at risk of suicide. It is argued suicide ideation or attempt should not be treated as if the student has committed a disciplinary infraction but should be treated as a mental health issue. However, the use of disciplinary proceedings as a last […]

Placing Blame After the Suicide of a Minor: Analysis of State v. Scruggs and Connecticut’s Risk-of-Injury Statute


Legal Issues of Psychiatric Malpractice in Suicide Cases


“Depressed? Get Out!”: Dealing With Suicidal Students on College Campuses

This column examines college & university policies under which students who manifest suicidal ideation are barred from campus, usually by immediate suspension or mandatory withdrawal. Such policies, which appear to be increasing on American campuses, generally reflect administrators’ fears of legal liability for student suicide. Two recent cases are reviewed & suggestions are made of […]

Managing Suicidal Risk: a Collaborative Approach

This clinical manual offers tools & guidance for therapists assessing & treating suicidal patients. The book provides step-by-step instructions & reproducible forms for evaluating suicide risk, developing a suicide-specific outpatient treatment plan, & tracking clinical progress & outcomes using documentation that can help to reduce the risk of malpractice liability. In addition to providing a […]

Keeping Students Alive: Mandating On-Campus Counseling Saves Suicidal College Students’ Lives and Limits Liability


An Historical Note on Suicide During the Course of Treatment for Depression


Suicide: Risk Management Strategies

Jail Suicide Under Legal Scrutiny: an Analysis of Litigation and its Implcations to Policy

Jail suicides are as institutionally significant as they are tragic. Consequently, jail administrators remain concerned about legal liability, espe cially when their policies and customs are brought into question. Indeed, as jail suicide litigation takes form, the focus of the suit is typically aimed at insti tutional problems, including deficiencies in training, monitoring, and condi […]

Student Suicide

National and State Standards for Prison Suicide Prevention: a Report Card

To date, there has been little research generated or resources offered in the area of prison suicide prevention. Aside from a scattering of isolated research studies, the dissemination of information regarding prison suicide has been sporadic at best. This article, based on findings from a monograph produced by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, […]