INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Suicide among doctors is a growing public health crisis as data shows 1 in 15 doctors have either thought about or even gone so far as to plan how they are going to take their own life.
In a new study, scientists at the University of California San Diego Health reviewed death investigations from 200 cases of physician suicides between 2003 and 2018.
The files showed five factors that contributed most to suicide: A sharp decline in physical health to a degree they can’t work, struggles with a substance abuse disorder, overwhelming mental stress on the job, legal problems, and increased financial stress.
“We often overlook the physical health of our health care workers, but poor health can lead to difficulty performing tasks at work, which then leads to job stress and mental health issues,” lead study author, Dr. Kristen Kim, said in a news release. “The unspoken culture of medicine encourages self-sacrifice, deferred needs, and delayed rewards. We always want to put our patients first, but healers cannot optimally heal unless they themselves are first whole.”
Kim goes on to say there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, but identifying and acknowledging the problem is a good first step toward a solution.