There are two kinds of psychiatrists: Those who have had a patient die by suicide and those who will.
Knowing this and knowing the profound impact patient suicide can have on psychiatrists and psychiatry residents, the UCSD Psychiatry residency program prioritizes providing optimal support to residents when a patient they are providing care for dies by suicide. We believe that this support is instrumental—not just for the residents involved in such cases, but also from a modeling standpoint for those who have not had a patient die by suicide during residency, but will over the arc of their careers. The SAVE committee is dedicated to these goals.
The UCSD Psychiatry Residency Program developed the SAVE committee in 2009 for the purpose of providing support and space for our trainees when a patient of theirs has a serious suicide attempt or dies by suicide. Over time, this committee has expanded to encompass other adverse events, such as events of patient violence towards trainees.
In our field of work, the occurrence of completed suicides and patient violence is not uncommon. When either occur with the patients we are caring for, an overwhelming range of emotions can be experienced, especially for trainees. The SAVE committee responds to these events by having both peer and faculty members of the committee reach out to the resident to process the event, provide support, and offer time off clinical services as needed. The SAVE committee can also help connect residents to the HEAR program Click here, which offers support and resources to all UCSD medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty.
SAVE Committee's Mission:
- Create a department-wide policy regarding the response to adverse events affecting all clinical trainees
- Ensure effective communication when adverse events occur
- Create a supportive environment
- Model a culture of support and approach to processing adverse events
- Educate faculty and trainees about the impact of patient suicide and patient violence