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Since suicide is not a crime in many states is there any requirement for anyone to do something about an individual who is attempting suicide? That is to say does anyone, other then perhaps a therapist, have an obligation to prevent a suicide?

Could a police officer, for example, stand by and watch a suicide occur without being guilty of a crime by not acting to prevent it? For that matter could a member of a hospital allow it to occur without violating their legal responsibilities?

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A police officer (or any other random person) would not be guilty of a crime or subject to civil liability for standing by and watching a suicide occur when it could be prevented, unless the person attempting to commit suicide was in his custody and he failed to take reasonable care to prevent a suicide in which case the officer could be subject to civil liability. It would not be a violation of the law, however, for a police officer (or in most cases, even a private citizen) to intervene to attempt to stop an attempted suicide.

Likewise, prisons and prison guards can have civil liability for failing to prevent the suicide of someone in their custody.

Of course, a police officer might still receive a negative employment evaluation from his supervisor for such conduct, or might even be fired for it depending on the rules of a particular department, as it would reflect poorly on the police department and show bad judgment on the officers part.

In general, an affirmative duty enforceable by a lawsuit to take reasonable efforts to prevent someone from committing suicide applies in circumstances where the person attempting to commit suicide is in someone else's care and custody and has their liberty constrained.

So, there could be liability on the part of a hospital or treating medical personnel (I've actually brought such a case that was dismissed due to malpractice in missing a deadline by local co-counsel who was then disciplined for ethical violations by the State of Illinois for his conduct.) In the absence of such a relationship, a legal duty to take affirmative action to prevent a suicide generally does not arise.

Certain medical facilities and providers are required to make anonymized incident reports for the purpose of creating national public health statistics on a periodic basis.

In certain extreme circumstances, there are duties to report someone who is a threat to others which may also include a risk of suicide, to authorities, but those are quite narrowly interpreted, and actual legal consequences from failing to warn are very rare.

There may be other reporting requirements in educational institutions and for mental health professionals, but I am not personally aware of them and I do not believe that they are national in scope.

Usually, for criminal liability, there would have to be actual affirmative acts to aid or to attempt to cause a suicide.

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