Suicide is the precipitating factor in a large percentage of claims and suits filed against psychiatrists, regardless of where they work or where they purchase insurance. When you provide several thousand psychiatrists with professional liability insurance, the aftermath of suicide becomes part of your professional life. Most Americans, however, do not have familiarity with the issues related to suicide, which unfortunately means that people with suicidal ideation do not get the help they need in order to prevent a suicide. This needs to change, and progress has been made with campaigns such as “Stop A Suicide Today”. It appears that change is also occurring in the military as the country comes to terms with the problem of suicide in the military and its veterans.
More and more, the media, veterans’ group, suicide survivors, military dependent groups and the military itself are speaking about the horrible reality of suicide among active duty and former military members. Just in the last few weeks, this topic was the covered by Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, to name a few. The Secretaries of Defense and Health and Human Services (HHS) spoke about the problem. The branches of the military themselves are changing the way they address suicidal behavior in the ranks.
We are committed to reducing patient suicide in all patient populations. We have distributed the “SAFE-T” (Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage) protocol developed by Screening For Mental Health, which you can download. In addition, for those psychiatrists treating our heroes – active military and veterans – we have assembled additional resources that we hope are useful in treating this very special patient population. “Military Suicide Prevention Resources” is available to insureds in the My Program section of the website (login required). If you are not insured with PRMS, you can request a copy from us.
Coming in September: Since 2004, PRMS volunteers have been supporting our troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.