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November 2016

Postdischarge Suicides: Nightmare and Disgrace

Author Affiliations
  • 1Research Unit, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 5Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(11):1113-1114. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2010

It is devastating when a person who has recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital dies by suicide. The act demonstrates the patient’s suffering, lack of hope, disappointment, and despair. Family members and next of kin are hit by sorrow and crisis. Often they will blame themselves or feel that the psychiatric services were inadequate. For the psychiatrist who treated the patient, a postdischarge suicide can be associated with self-blame and the risk for being accused of misconduct.

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