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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