The death of every person who dies by suicide leaves endless ripple effects of loss and grief in families, friends, and communities. The loss of a patient to suicide can have a profound impact on pediatric clinicians and office staff.

Common experiences after losing a patient to suicide may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, or distress
  • Shaken confidence in professional abilities
  • Impacts on sleep or other aspects of health
  • Changes in care delivery: hyper-vigilance or avoiding certain patients

Considerations for Clinicians Who Have Lost a Patient to Suicide

  • Debrief with clinical team, and participate in institutional processes (eg, case review, sentinel event, root-cause analysis)
  • Meet with the health system’s risk management team
  • Promote healthy habits related to sleep, substance use, exercise, and time for reflection
  • Offer to meet with the deceased patient’s family: to listen and provide empathy, to answer questions without violating patient confidentiality, and to offer condolences
  • Seek support in colleagues, and in the resources below

In the event of a suicide loss, resources are available to support families, schools, and healthcare systems. (Please note that this list is not intended to be exhaustive).

Resources for Families

Resources for Schools and Universities

Resources for Healthcare Professionals and Organizations

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics