Objective: The no-suicide contract is widely recommended as an important intervention in the care of suicidal patients; however, there are no data demonstrating its effectiveness or its acceptance in the professional community. This study examines the use of no-suicide contracts by psychiatrists in Minnesota.
Method: A postcard questionnaire was mailed to 514 psychiatrists in Minnesota inquiring about their practices and experiences with no-suicide contracts.
Results: There were 267 responses, yielding a response rate of 52%. No-suicide contracts were used by 152 (57%) of the respondents. Within this group, 62 (41%) of the psychiatrists had patients who committed suicide or made serious attempts after entering into a no-suicide contract.
Conclusions: Among the respondents to the questionnaire, slightly more than half used no-suicide contracts, indicating that such contracts are not universally accepted as standard practice among these psychiatrists. More data are needed to determine the effectiveness of no-suicide contracts in preventing suicide.