A man hung himself at Cottage Hospital’s psych unit on April 5,
one day shy of his 38th birthday, and was pronounced dead two days
later. Santa Barbara police confirmed that Michael Barbera – who
checked himself in for depression and suicidal thoughts – hung
himself in his room, using his belt. He was found by a fellow
patient. According to police, Barbera’s fellow patients reported
that while he seemed in high spirits beforehand, he had also made
remarks about using his belt to hang himself. Cottage psychiatric
patients are typically relieved of their belts upon intake, but
Barbera was allowed to keep his. Cottage spokesperson Janet O’Neill
said staff followed standard procedure and that hospital officials
are investigating the death. Barbera had checked himself into
Cottage for psychiatric help on four prior occasions.


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