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“OMG, My Psychiatrist/Addiction Counselor Commit Suicide by Over Dosing!”

Updated on June 28, 2011


This morning as I was getting in the car to go to work and my neighbor, who is well let’s just call him colorful and a self described addict, mental ill person who sits home on disability all day bolted out of his house and made a bee line for me to cry out, “OMG, My Psychiatrist/Addiction Counselor committed suicide by over dosing. What am I to do?” It was perplexng question.

My immediate reaction was to call 911 but it wasn’t a real emergency. This person was truly having a crisis. I would submit it should have been handled privately but be that as it may my neighbor needs my help.

So what do you say to a mentally ill person who is also a recovering addict after their psychiatrist commits suicide by over dosing? I told the neighbor to do nothing rash and allow me to get back to him. He seemed rather distraught so I had to sit home and compose myself for a moment. I called in to work and told them I would be late. We are all responsible for each other. And I didn’t have much to go on as Emily Post didn’t really cover this type of condolence. I really have an appreciation for not knowing what to say in a moment like that.

So I checked the internet and sure enough the neighbor’s psychiatrist/ addiction counselor had committed suicide. I then had to come up with plan. Seriously, Emily Post didn't cover this topic and I couldn't have anticipated this event. It'd be funny if it wasn't true. How would any of us handle this situation?

Suicide is a taboo topic in our society let alone amongst mental health professionals/addictions counselors.

A Plan

First, I had to recommend that the neighbor go to the doctor immediately to check all of his medication dosages to make certain they weren’t lethal doses. There is this pining away at death that mental health and drug addicts seem to be drawn into. And sometimes suicidal people like to take others with them.

Second, I encouraged the neighbor to seek spiritual advice. The neighbor is Catholic and the priest does provide counseling. There are sponsors at the Church at night in the AA and NA programs.

Third, I had to encourage this person to attend the AA and NA meetings which I am not certain he will actually do but he needed to be shoved I the right direction.

Fourth, I reminded the neighbor that one person’s suicide didn't mean he had received poor mental healthcare but he was diminished that he had been paying for and receiving services from a drug addicted psychiatrist. Metaphysically, he had been lead in circles in his own madness by a sick person. There was just about nothing I could say or do that would change that fact.

Finally, I offered to help this person if he reached crisis. It was really hard for me to do as I am not an expert in this area. And I told him I am limited. But he insisted I help him as his life was shattered.. And I told him he was starting over at the bottom of Maslow’s Triangle and Safety and Security was the most important things.

Would You Know How?

Would You Know How to Console Someone Whose Therapist committed Suicide?

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