Year: 2023 Source: BMC Psychiatry. (2023), 23, 607. SIEC No: 20231907
Background Patient suicides are significant events that tremendously affect psychiatrists— personally and professionally. Very few studies have focused on studying the impact of both serious suicidal attempts and completed suicide on psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees. Aim This study assessed the prevalence and impact of patient suicide and serious suicidal attempts on psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees in Saudi Arabia. Methods This national cross-sectional study of psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees was conducted in Saudi Arabia. Participants completed an online self-administered questionnaire to assess emotional and professional impacts and the traumatic impact of patient suicide using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Results 178 psychiatrists were enrolled in this study. The prevalence rate of patient suicide among participants was 38.8%, and they experienced adverse emotional reactions. Additionally, among those who were not exposed to patient suicide, 12.9% reported exposure to serious suicide attempts, and almost all of them experienced related negative emotions. The most frequently reported emotions were sadness (61.95%), shock (48.91%), and guilt (25%), and these emotions lasted longer in completed patient suicide cases than attempted suicide. Nearly 84% of participants who experienced suicide reported its impact on their profession. The most reported professional impacts were increased focus on suicide cues, attention to legal aspects, and a tendency to hospitalize. Of participants who experienced suicide, 75.4% reported that the overall impact of suicidal events on their professional practice had improved. Of the total number of respondents who experienced either suicide or serious suicidal attempts, 10.9% reported symptoms of PTSD. Conclusions: The study highlighted the emotional and professional burden that psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees experience due to patient’s completed suicides and serious suicidal attempts. Additionally, it emphasized the need for further research to study the benefits of implementing preparatory and training programs to help trainees and psychiatrists in such instances.