Suicide among doctors refers to physicians or medical trainees dying by suicide.

Studies report that physicians are more likely to die by suicide than the general population and even people with similar academic training who are not physicians.[1]

The suicide mortality rate is about the same among male and female doctors,[2] and significantly higher than the general population.[3][citation needed] Female physicians are at higher risk of attempting suicide than men,[2][4] showing rates over 250% higher among women and about 70% higher among men versus the general population. In the United States of America, an estimated 300 to 400 doctors die by suicide each year, a rate of 28 to 40 per 100,000 or more than double that of general population.[5] 9% of American male physicians and 11% of American female physicians reported having suicidal thoughts in Medscape's Physician Suicide Report 2023.[6]

Medical trainees edit

A 1999 paper reported that even though there is agreement that being a physician increases a person's risk of suicide, there is little research on the risk of suicide among medical students.[7] A study of medical residents in the United States from 2000 to 2014 found that suicide was one of the leading causes of death in that population.[8]

Institutions edit

In 2018, a journalist for Refinery29 reviewed how Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan responds to suicide by its physicians.[9]

Response edit

Historically, physicians who sought help for suicidal ideation sometimes faced professional punishments including risk of having their medical license revoked, future barriers to career advancement, and restrictions on professional privileges.[10] However, many non-profit organizations and healthcare systems have begun developing tools and resources for physicians and other healthcare professionals to seek help and support as well as to address systemic barriers to treatment.[11] Some professional organizations recommend that health organizations reform policy to allow physicians who want counseling to be able to access it with fewer professional penalties.[10]

In the media edit

Do No Harm[12] is a documentary film about physician suicide released in 2018.

During the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City in 2020, doctor's deaths by suicide gained media attention. The story of Dr. Lorna Breen, an ER doctor at New York Presbyterian-Allen Hospital in Northern Manhattan, helped to gain awareness about this issue of mental health struggles, burnout, and suicide risk amongst doctors working through the crisis.[13] [14]

References edit

  1. ^ Arnetz, B.B.; Hörte, L.G.; Hedberg, A.; Theorell, T.; Allander, E.; Malker, H. (1987). "Suicide patterns among physicians related to other academics as well as to the general population". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 75 (2): 139–143. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1987.tb02765.x. ISSN 0001-690X. PMID 3494382. S2CID 38901929.
  2. ^ a b Lindeman, S.; Laara, E.; Hakko, H.; Lonnqvist, J. (1996). "A systematic review on gender-specific suicide mortality in medical doctors". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 168 (3): 274–279. doi:10.1192/bjp.168.3.274. ISSN 0007-1250. PMID 8833679. S2CID 20031674.
  3. ^ "How Often do Physicians and Medical Students Die of Suicide". American Medical Association. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  4. ^ Schernhammer, Eva S.; Colditz, Graham A. (2004). "Suicide Rates Among Physicians: A Quantitative and Gender Assessment (Meta-Analysis)". American Journal of Psychiatry. 161 (12): 2295–2302. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.161.12.2295. ISSN 0002-953X. PMID 15569903.
  5. ^ Farmer, Blake (July 31, 2018). "When Doctors Struggle With Suicide, Their Profession Often Fails Them". NPR. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Frangou, Christina (2023). "US surgeons are killing themselves at an alarming rate. One decided to speak out". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Tyssen, Reidar; Vaglum, Per; Grønvold, Nina T.; Ekeberg, Øivind (2001). "Suicidal ideation among medical students and young physicians: a nationwide and prospective study of prevalence and predictors". Journal of Affective Disorders. 64 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(00)00205-6. ISSN 0165-0327. PMID 11292521.
  8. ^ Yaghmour, Nicholas A.; Brigham, Timothy P.; Richter, Thomas; Miller, Rebecca S.; Philibert, Ingrid; Baldwin, DeWitt C.; Nasca, Thomas J. (July 2017). "Causes of Death of Residents in ACGME-Accredited Programs 2000 Through 2014". Academic Medicine. 92 (7): 976–983. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000001736. PMC 5483979. PMID 28514230.
  9. ^ Edwards, Ashley Alese (2 February 2018). "This NYC Hospital Has A Physician Suicide Problem It Doesn't Want You To Know About". Refinery29.
  10. ^ a b Center, Claudia; Davis, Miriam; Detre, Thomas; Ford, Daniel E.; Hansbrough, Wendy; Hendin, Herbert; Laszlo, John; Litts, David A.; Mann, John; Mansky, Peter A.; Michels, Robert; Miles, Steven H.; Proujansky, Roy; Reynolds III, Charles F.; Silverman, Morton M. (2003). "Confronting Depression and Suicide in Physicians". JAMA. 289 (23): 3161–3166. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3161. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 12813122. S2CID 7074258.
  11. ^ American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Physician and Medical Student Depression and Suicide Prevention". American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. AFSP. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  12. ^ Do No Harm (2018), retrieved 2017-06-19
  13. ^ Watkins, Ali; Rothfeld, Michael; Rashbaum, William K.; Rosenthal, Brian M. (April 27, 2020). "Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Knoll, Corina; Watkins, Ali; Rothfeld, Michael (July 11, 2020). "'I Couldn't Do Anything': The Virus and an ER Doctor's Suicide". The New York Times.