Suicide prevention contract

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A suicide prevention contract is a contract that contains an agreement not to commit suicide. It was historically used by health professionals dealing with depressive clients.[1] Typically, the client was asked to agree to talk with the professional prior to carrying out any decision to commit suicide. Suicide prevention contracts have been shown not to be effective and have risk of harm[2]. Suicide prevention contracts were once a "widely used but overvalued clinical and risk-management technique."[3] Indeed, it has been argued that such contracts "may in fact increase danger by providing psychiatrists with a false sense of security, thus decreasing their clinical vigilance."[4] It has also been argued that such contracts can anger or inhibit the client and introduce coercion into therapy.[5]

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  1. ^ Simon, R. I. (1999), "The suicide prevention contract: clinical, legal, and risk management issues", Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 27 (3): 445–450
  2. ^ Ng, C. W. M., How, C. H., & Ng, Y. P. (2017). Depression in primary care: assessing suicide risk. Singapore Medical Journal, 58(2), 72–77.
  3. ^ MC Miller; DG Jacobs (1998), "Talisman or Taboo: The Controversy of the Suicide-Prevention Contract", Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 6 (2): 78–87, doi:10.3109/10673229809000314, PMID 10370451
  4. ^ The "Suicide-Prevention Contract": A Dangerous Myth, 38 (14), Psychiatric News, July 18, 2003, p. 3
  5. ^ LM Range; C Campbell; SH Kovac (2002), No-suicide contracts: An overview and recommendations (PDF)