Hospital Social Worker Minimizes Suicidal Patient as Attention Seeking

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Suicide is a critical issue in many communities, including those in Canada. Many people lose their life to suicide every day. Health practitioners such as physicians, psychologists, social workers, and nurses need to be educated about suicide and take suicidal thoughts and behaviours seriously, especially when there have been prior attempts. It should not matter what the person’s diagnoses are or whether they’re chronically suicidal or have made several unsuccessful attempts. It just takes one attempt and the person’s life could be over. 

The image shown in this petition is a progress note written by a social worker working for St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Parkwood Institute, Mental Health. This progress note was obtained through Clinical Records at Parkwood Institute, given to the undersigned to arrange for international travel and health care. In this image, the social worker states that they did not inquire about the person’s suicidal ideation because “the patient is chronically suicidal and uses this state of mind to obtain attention or containment.” Suicidality is associated with significant mental health distress, not attention-seeking behaviour. 

Situations like the one described above are not uncommon. It is my hope that this petition will bring awareness to the quality of health care provisions for mental health. It is important that this situation and similar situations are thoroughly scrutinized.  

I urge you to sign this petition. 


Kristin Legault, a Psychology student, mental health advocate and author