The American College of Physicians’ Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee has released a policy paper addressing the issue of physician suicide. The policy paper was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on June 2, 2017. The ACP has also recognized the importance of training and resourcing for physicians. Increasing awareness about physician suicide may help to increase the number of doctors who seek help. ACP Member Anita Lang, MD, also shared her mother’s story.
A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that physicians are more likely to commit suicide than other people. The number of physicians who attempt suicide was 3% higher than in the general population. While the rate was higher in males than in females, males were three times more likely to commit suicide. It is estimated that approximately 400 physicians commit suicidal behavior each year. The majority of these doctors were in their early career stages and tended to put off seeking help.
Despite the high risk of physician suicide, physicians are still ranked second only to nurses in terms of the overall rate of suicide. A doctor’s high stress level has been linked to a long period of sleep deprivation and work environment. The stressors, lack of sleep, and lack of social support are enough to make a physician feel suicidal. It is no wonder that physicians have a higher risk of suicide than other people.
Physicians who suffer from mental illness should write about their experience, share their stories in public, and speak to others about the issue. By sharing their personal experience, physicians can encourage others to seek help. Dr. Myers has personally seen doctors seek help after reading or hearing about others’ experiences. It is imperative to help these doctors. And while this may seem like a burden, these doctors are a valuable resource for our society.
One physician commits suicide every day in the United States. The rate of suicide among physicians is the highest of any profession, and is more than twice as high as the overall population. Many of these deaths result from untreated depression and other mental illnesses. Such a situation makes it imperative that physicians seek early diagnosis and treatment. It is also important to identify and recognize the risks of suicidal thoughts among their colleagues. It is crucial that these doctors receive adequate care and support.
The research conducted by the study revealed that the number of physicians who commit suicide has risen steadily since the beginning of the century. The prevalence of physician suicide has increased as a result of medical technology, and it is also associated with increased workloads. Moreover, doctors are exposed to a high amount of stress at their jobs. The high level of stress and traumatic situations in physicians are also the causes of doctor-suicide.