Physicians have one of the highest suicide rate of any profession. More than half of physicians know a physician who has either considered, attempted or died by suicide in their career. It’s estimated that one million Americans lose their physician to suicide each year. We can all help prevent physician suicide.
While physician suicide was a crisis long before COVID-19, the demands of the pandemic have created a sense of urgency to better support physicians’ mental health and wellbeing.
National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (#NPSADay) is a reminder and call to action. In 2022, #NPSADay reached 25.5 million people and received sign on support from 108 organizations, resulting in a total of over 62,000 actions. But it doesn’t have to stop there – with your help, every day we can make time to talk – and to act – so physicians’ struggles don’t become mental health emergencies. We can all help prevent physician suicide by learning the signs, starting the conversations, removing intrusive mental health questions from applications and sharing the resources that can help those in distress seek mental health care.
7 Actions You Can Take
Take the time to reflect on your own wellbeing, encourage others and share your hopes for future physicians.
Carrie Cunningham, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Christopher Veal, MD
FAMILY MEDICINE RESIDENT
Carle Foundation Hospital | Urbana, Illinois
All healthcare organizations can take action to help prevent physician suicide on #NPSADay and beyond.