Assessing high risk of suicide amongst physicians and nurses in treatment

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Sep;291:113237. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113237. Epub 2020 Jun 15.


Little is known about the suicidal behaviour of health professionals admitted to specialised programmes. This study aims to describe the factors associated with high risk of suicide (HRS) of physicians and nurses in treatment at the Galatea Care Programme. We conducted a retrospective naturalistic study with data from 1,214 electronic medical records of physicians and nurses working in Catalonia and in treatment at the Galatea Clinic during 2017 and 2018. HRS was registered in the medical record according to the screening criteria of the Catalonia Risk Suicide Code; 62.4% (n = 757) were physicians and 37.6% (n = 457) were nurses. HRS was identified in 5% physicians and 5.2% nurses. Patients who were in a relationship or were not on a sick leave were less likely to have HRS, whereas those with affective disorders were more likely to have HRS compared with those with anxiety disorders or substance use disorders. Patients with HRS were more likely to have concurrent mental disorders. Specialised treatment programmes for health professionals should regularly screen for suicide risk, especially amongst those having affective disorders, comorbid mental disorders or when their working and interpersonal life areas are impaired.

Keywords: Health care workers; Mental health; Mood disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Spain
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide / psychology*