Impact of client suicide on psychologists in Australia

Melissa Finlayson, Janette Graetz Simmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This research aimed to assess the frequency and impact of client suicides on psychologists in Australia.
Method: Participants were 178 psychologists who completed an online self-report questionnaire concerning the frequency of occurrence and impact of client suicide.
Results: Fifty six (31.5%) participants reported one or more client suicides. Psychologists with more years of experience reported more client suicides. Participants who had experienced a client suicide reported a range of emotional, cognitive and behavioural reactions as well as professional impacts. Ratings of responsibility, preventability and predictability of a client suicide were associated with emotional and/or professional impacts. Beneficial coping responses included talking to supervisors and colleagues, recognising the psychologist is not responsible and having increased acceptance of a client suicide.
Conclusions: The findings have important implications for training, workplace practices and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

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