2023 ACMT Symposium | Self-Harm, Suicidality, and the Poisoned Patient: The Intersection of Toxicology and Mental Health

Suicide is a major public health problem and leading cause of preventable death. The practice of medical toxicology often involves caring for patients who injure themselves (or attempt injury) by poisoning. Toxic exposures may affect the central nervous system, cause neuropsychiatric symptoms, and increase the likelihood of future suicidal behavior.

"Toxicologists interact on a daily basis with patients who have myriad mental health problems, and in many cases those sufferings increase the risk of suicide,” says symposium organizer Mark Su, MD, MPH, FACMT. “As providers for patients with intentional xenobiotic exposures and suicide attempts, the toxicology community must be cognizant of these complex issues and understand substantive ways to address them in real time."

This symposium will discuss the ethics, psychology, management, and global epidemiology of the suicidal patient through the toxicology lens. Clinicians will also learn about lethal means restriction, care of the “frequent attempter,” and strategies to prevent death by suicide. Ultimately, the course will hopefully help us better understand the suicidal toxicology patient and improve their care.

This program brings together distinguished experts in Medical Toxicology, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, Medical Ethics, Military Medicine, Addiction Medicine, Public Health and related fields.

Topics include:

  • Ethical Issues in Treatment and Research
  • Ethical Allocation of Resources: Transplant and the Suicidal Patient
  • Psychology of Suicidal Behavior and Access to Means
  • The Role of Medical Toxicology in Prevention of Suicidality
  • The High Utilizer and Recurrent Suicidality
  • Special Populations: Neuropsychiatric Consequences of Military and Occupational Exposures
  • The Intersection of Forensic Toxicology & Suicide: How To Determine Death by Suicidal Intent

The event will conclude with “A Global Perspective on Suicide by Self-Poisoning” panel featuring international medical and public health experts representing the U.S., Scotland, Lebanon, Australia, and France.