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Professional reactions and changes in practice following patient suicide: what do we know about mental health professionals’ profiles?

Alida Gulfi (School of Social Work Fribourg (HETS-FR), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Givisiez, Switzerland)
Jean-Luc Heeb (School of Social Work Fribourg (HETS-FR), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Givisiez, Switzerland)
Dolores Angela Castelli Dransart (School of Social Work Fribourg (HETS-FR), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Givisiez, Switzerland)
Elisabeth Gutjahr (School of Social Work Fribourg (HETS-FR), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Givisiez, Switzerland)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 14 September 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and describe the profiles of mental health professionals and their relationship to professional reactions and changes in working practice following a patient suicide.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from 713 mental health professionals working in various institutional settings and in private practice in French-speaking Switzerland were collected by written questionnaires.

Findings

Four distinct profiles with low to moderate professional reactions and changes in working practice were identified by cluster analysis. The type and intensity of relationship between professional and patient, and psychological and/or social support following the patient suicide were the most discriminant factors of the four profiles.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the understanding of professional consequences of patient suicide on mental health professionals.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The study was supported by two grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (13DPD3-109845 and 13DPD3-120560) and by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO). The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the University Hospitals of Lausanne and Geneva.

Citation

Gulfi, A., Heeb, J.-L., Castelli Dransart, D.A. and Gutjahr, E. (2015), "Professional reactions and changes in practice following patient suicide: what do we know about mental health professionals’ profiles?", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 256-267. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-11-2014-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited