The ethical status of suicide is not a question psychiatrists can ignore. After all, our duty to preserve and protect life is founded on moral values, even if they are so deeply embedded in our medical ethos that we no longer sense their moral underpinnings.
Most New Yorkers were afraid to venture outdoors after the Twin Towers toppled, so a short term, part-time locums post opened upstate, an escape from the decaying metropolis and retreat to the country. What could go wrong in such an idyllic setting?
It is hard for mental health professionals to discuss completed suicides. Legal fears, confidentiality concerns, shame, and stigma are formidable obstacles. But talk we must, for talking—and listening—is a key to prevention and treatment.
Lack of communication is often a key factor in mass murder, according Phillip Resnick, MD, a presenter at this year’s PsychCongress. Although HIPAA is important, the safety of the individual and the public should outweigh privacy issues, and “risk to human life always trumps confidentiality.”
Some attorneys have argued that SSRIs cause serious adverse events, capable of compelling defendants to engage in strikingly complex criminal behavior. On close examination, however, these phenomena may be clearly distinguished from criminal behavior.
PTSD is a psychiatric illness resulting from a physical or psychological trauma that is sometimes related to warfare, but of course occurs in the case of civilian trauma as well. However, wars have been a propitious time for studying PTSD.