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Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Yes, Docs suicide.

This is a video from the Kickstarter for a movie on medical suicide.

I will add that neither of my sons are in medical school. They dodged this bullet.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 350 to 400 physicians in the United States die by suicide annually. Women physicians are 2.3 times more likely to die by suicide than those in the general population; male physicians, 1.4 times more likely. Symon said she was alarmed by the high suicide rate among physicians and saw the film as an opportunity to raise awareness about the extent of the problem.

ā€œIā€™m hoping to expose this problem and create a national and international dialogue about the crisis of physician suicide and how it impacts patients,ā€ Symon told Psychiatric News. In addition to making documentary films, Symon is a two-time Emmy-winning producer and director who has produced programming for many national networks.

The article goes on to talk about stigma. It misses the consequences of failure, the expectations of patients that they will get good care at all times and that the medics they see will always be available.

This is unrealistic. We cannot be available at all times. We are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, your gym mates. If one in ten people in the population are depressed this year it is at least that among medics. In New Zealand we have systems in place to support our ill colleagues, but the stigma remains, and the process of investigation around poor performance in the name of patient safety, regardless of how worthy that is, has casualties.

I only see the survivors. I have been to too many funerals. Next time your doc is angry and abrupt, consider that she is probably more depressed than you are.

3 thoughts on "Yes, Docs suicide."

  • Anonymous says:

    Sure like to see those stats compared against SES cohort.

    • pukeko says:

      I’m doing this from memory, but there have been surveys by profession. Physicians and Dentists are higher than Lawyers or accountants.

      The base rate for suicide in NZ is 10.1 per 100 000. That is around 500 suicides per year compared with about 200 dying in road crashes. The rate of suicide among those who attend mental health services in 197 per 100 000. The rates in docs are higher than the mentally ill.

      If you want really high rates of suicide, try looking up the real stats on transgender.

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