Potential Impact of Client Suicide on Providers

Dr. Demetra Stamm (SMC BHRS Psychiatry Resident) led a group of San Mateo County BHRS staff in exploring client suicide at the Potential Impact of Client Suicide on Providers program on May 9th. Dr. Stamm shared common provider responses to client suicide: shock, guilt, and fear of blame.

We continued to explore about how providers can cope as suicide survivors. (Suicide Survivor is a term commonly used in the suicide prevention world to refer to someone who knew someone who died by suicide.) To take care of ourselves, we concluded that providers should take the day off and speak up about it with our/their coworkers. We can only get help, or help others, by speaking up and sharing what we are going through. Once back in the office, the provider has the opportunity help other suicide survivors. In particular, to check in with the family of the client who completed their suicide.

Tiffany Flowerday, LMFT and Paul Yang, MD closed the space by sharing personal work experience to lose a client to suicide.

For comprehensive suicide prevention resources in the county, you can refer to smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.