By Ruchi M. Fitzgerald, MD
The life of a physician is incredibly challenging. Hours and hours of training and patient care with inadequate emotional and mental health supports built in to balance out chronic stress levels. It’s a labor of love, but it takes its toll.
Sept. 17, 2020, is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. A staggering number of physicians and others working in the medical field die each year by suicide. In fact, the number is an estimated 300 physicians, with rates continuing to rise, according to a report in Missouri Medical, The journal of the Missouri State Medical Association.
This startling data that has not changed since 2003, when it was presented at the national American Psychiatric Association by researchers in 2018, which urges all of us to consider implementing more preventive strategies in our workplaces to address emotional supports for health care workers.
National Physician Suicide Awareness Day is a day that allows us to remember those in the medical field who have died by suicide. For me, it is a stark reminder to pause and make sure I am doing my part to continue to break the stigma surrounding depression, substance use/misuse and emotional distress that are at play for so many people in the medical field. It’s also a great time to review some specific action plans on how to help a colleague in distress by reviewing the resources available here at Rush and nationally.Continue reading