One hundred and nine consultant psychiatrists completed an anonymous questionnaire on the suicide of patients In their care. A patient suicide was reported by 82%, of whom 47% had experienced their first patient suicide within five years of entering psychiatric practice. A formal review of the suicide had occurred in 24% of cases. The study examines the perceived effects of their first patient suicide on the professional practice of the respondents, and measures the personal stress related to it, using the Impact of Event Scale. We discuss the implications of this common experience for psychiatric training programmes.
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