At a recent community volunteer clinic, I had my first proper psych patient. I have dealt before with suicide attempts, but those were unconscious patients in casualty and thus did not present the opportunity for a consultation.
This patient came for help herself – something I though was a good sign. Her affect was blunted and she was clearly depressed. There was a positive history too.
Nevertheless, I initially assessed her as low-risk. She wanted a referral to a psychiatrist and I was happy to give it to her.
Realising that I have not yet done a practical psychiatry rotation, I asked a senior student for a consult. Good thing too. He assessed her as high-risk. I had forgotten to ask about death ideation and suicidal ideation.
Things I learnt?
1. Know when you don’t know;
2. Brush up on psych;
3. There is a reason they make us study for centuries.