From the Hill:
After all, physician suicide — and more broadly health-care worker suicide — is a huge issue in the U.S. In my own experience, I have lost six colleagues to suicide — five physicians and one physician assistant. That does not include the suicides that I have heard about through the whisper network at work.
My junior colleague was among an estimated 400 physicians who took their lives in 2016. Many physicians know more doctors than patients who have taken their lives. Physicians and nurses complete suicide more often than do average Americans; rates are even higher for women in both professions. Respect, fear and love for our colleagues often leads us to list the cause of death differently on death certificates. We frequently self-medicate, so suicides may instead be listed as accidental. Phrases to describe the scope like “an entire medical school class a year” or “a doctor a day” have particularly ominous meanings for physicians.
Why physicians and health-care workers are more likely to complete suicide is unknown. It perhaps has to do with a work-related mental health syndrome called disengagement and burnout, which has reached epidemic proportions in health-care providers and nurses. Excessive pressures and expectations at work, paired with seemingly unattainable goals for quality and productivity as well as societal loss of trust in physicians, has led to a loss of meaning of work and of self for physicians. This is not the norm that physicians or nurses expected when we answered the call to be care-providers.
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Pray always for purity and love
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