More Suicides among Doctors than other Professionals

May 18, 2008 07:33 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Between 300 and 400 physicians take their own lives annually. Contributory factors are a reluctance to seek help for depression and access to lethal drugs.

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The cause of the alarming suicide rates among physicians is undiagnosed and untreated depression, said Dr. Charles Reynolds, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Some physicians worry that receiving treatment for depression could tarnish their medical careers or cost them their licenses.

Newsweek explained that “despite the steady increase in the number of women in the field, medicine is still very much a macho profession; physicians are supposed to be the strong ones who care for the sick, not the sick ones who need to be cared for.”

The medical profession and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are trying to address depression and suicide issues before they escalate to serious levels.

Mood disorders can be especially worrying among doctors, who can easily obtain a range of pharmaceuticals. The number of successful suicide attempts is particularly high in the medical profession.

In May 2008, public television stations will air a new documentary, “Struggling in Silence,” that investigates depression and suicide rates among physicians and medical school students.

The film is part of a national campaign to explore the aspects of the medical profession’s culture that stops physicians and medical students from obtaining help “for the common and treatable mood disorders that can lead to suicide.”

Medical schools around the country are also instituting programs to help their students cope with the rigors of their training.

Headline Link: 'Doctors Who Kill Themselves'

Background: Depression in medical school

Related Topics: 'Struggling in Silence'

Reference: Depression resources


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