Why are doctors plagued by depression and suicide? A crisis comes into focus

In a nearly 1,800-word article, STAT (7/21, Graham) reports that in June, the Association of American Medical Colleges “convened a meeting to address an escalating crisis of depression, burnout, and suicide among physicians” and medical students. Ideas presented include “encouraging medical students to join clubs so they feel less isolated; ensuring that counseling is more accessible and private; and more actively tracking the mental health of students” and physicians.

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece for STAT (7/21), psychiatrist Joan M. Anzia, MD, of Northwestern Medicine and director of the residency program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, writes that some “300 to 400” US physicians commit suicide annually, with the “great majority of these deaths” attributed to “untreated depression.”

Dr. Anzia calls for destigmatizing efforts to seek help, providing “physicians with prompt and targeted mental health assessments, support, and treatment when they’re feeling burned out or depressed,” and working “to prevent burnout and depression by removing barriers such as intensely busy work schedules, the cost of mental health treatment, and the difficulty of finding resources during nonwork hours, which are often few and far between.”

Related Links:

— “Why are doctors plagued by depression and suicide? A crisis comes into focus,” JUDITH GRAHAM, STAT, July 21, 2016.

Posted in In The News.