This past Tuesday (September 17th) was the first annual National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. CORD, ACEP, SAEM and a number of other EM organizations paired with organization from other specialties to raise awareness of the epidemic. It’s an effort to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, open the conversation to make change, and to encourage those battling to seek help.
It was also a day to remember our colleagues lost to suicide.
Here are some facts, (thanks to @NYACEP and @CORD):
-physicians die by suicide at a rate that is more than double the population (the estimate is 300-400 per year, however it’s suspected that this is grossly underestimated)
–Female physicians are 2.27x more likely to die by suicide compared to the general population
-Physicians often feel they can’t seek therapy due to concerns and fear about losing their medical license or hospital credentialing.
-Physician suicide is a public health crisis as it affects up to 1 million patients per year who lose their physicians
-Though residency training is considered a very stressful and challenging time of life, physicians at mid-to-late career are more likely to take their own lives.
-For every one person who dies by suicide, 280 others have thought about it
As a specialty, EM has definitely been a champion in bringing this issue to the forefront, as we are one of the specialities with the highest rates of burnout. But, physician suicide is not an “Emergency Medicine” issue alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone, you never know what sort of things they are struggling with and you just might be the person to get them to open up.
It’s okay to not always be okay. We’ve all been there, we’ve all struggled. You are not alone. We are a family at Sinai, and we’re always here for you.
We can’t take good care of our patients unless we take good care of ourselves and each other.. Keep talking. Let’s be the generation that changes the culture.
Our own sinaiem.org has a list of mental health resources, under the wellness tab, click the download link: