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May 16, 1986

My Dear Colleague: Are You Considering Suicide?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Cleveland Heights, Ohio

JAMA. 1986;255(19):2600. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190083013

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In Reply.—  Few of my papers have given me such gratification and such a feeling of having said exactly what I wanted to say as "My Dear Colleague: Are You Considering Suicide?" Almost none has elicited the intensity of response expressed in the two letters published above.Dr Sargent worked mightily on the joint American Medical Association/ American Psychiatric Association Advisory Panel on Physician Mortality. The work of his group has improved our ability to predict when physicians are at risk and to act with confidence to help prevent their suicides. The profession owes Dr Sargent and his co-workers heartfelt thanks.I now turn to his "quibbles." Indeed, at the moment that a potential victim reaches the decision to commit suicide he may be irrational. My appeal, consistent with my thesis of "confrontation and engagement," is for appropriate intervention before the potential victim has lost control.It is probable that