Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(2), 426-438. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2021.2020190 SIEC No: 20231254

Objective: Client suicide, used to refer to situations where a mental health practitioner (MHP) is exposed, affected, or bereaved by a client’s suicide, is known to have a profound impact on MHPs. The current study investigated (1) the short- and long-term impact of client suicide and (2) to what extent gender, years of experience, therapeutic background, and exposure to suicidality predicted impact.

Methods: An international sample of 213 mental health practitioners completed an online survey on the impact of client suicide.

Results and conclusion: Overall, results indicate MHPs are significantly affected by client suicide. A two-factor model in which impact of client suicide was predicted by two latent variables, MHP Characteristics and Exposure to Suicidality, explained 43% of short-term, 69% of long-term emotional, and 60% of long-term professional impact. Whereas MHP characteristics did not significantly predict any of the three impact variables (ps >.05), Exposure to Suicidality significantly predicted all three outcome variables (ps <.001). Interestingly, lived experience or exposure to suicidality of friends/family members predicted more impact, while exposure to suicidality at work predicted less impact of client suicide. Implications for both research and clinical practice are discussed.