My Fatal Mistake’. Guilt, blame and the Role of the Psychiatrist in a Patient Suicide

Suicide is something that is at the back of our minds in a lot of our work with patients. Given its importance and the fear that it generates, it is surprising that there is very little known about it’s nature or aetiology.
This lecture aims to look at various controversial ‘truths’ about suicide. I will talk about understanding of suicidal states of mind and illustrate with real cases. What leads someone to take their own life? Can it be prevented? The profound effect the suicide of a patient has on the psychiatrist working with them will be discussed. Knowledge gained from running a suicide group for consultants over 9 years will be shared.