9 ways to combat physician suicide

February 26, 2018

Pamela Wible, MD, has dedicated herself to raising awareness about this issue and changing the conditions that lead so many physicians to take their own lives. Here's what Wible says physicians can do about the suicide issue to help themselves and others.

 

 

The physician suicide rate is 1.41 times greater than the general population, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Pamela Wible, MD, has dedicated herself to raising awareness about this issue and changing the conditions that lead so many physicians to take their own lives. Here’s what Wible says physicians can do about the suicide issue to help themselves and others.

 

9. Talk about the suicide issue and stop the secrecy.

 

 

8. Remove mental health questions from licensing applications or alter wording from “Have you ever had a mental health condition…” to “Do you currently have a medical condition that would limit your ability to practice medicine safely?”

 

 

7. Provide on-the-job support, especially for emergency department physicians and surgeons, which are high-risk and high-mortality specialties.

 

 

6. Help doctors off the assembly line and out of big box clinics where they are not happy. Help them open independent clinics where they can practice in alignment with their values and original intent when they entered medicine.

 

5. Befriend one another. Focus on collaboration, not competition.

 

 

4. Mentor other physicians.

 

 

3. Spend time together outside the office. Take a colleague out to lunch.

 

 

2. Hand out thank-you cards and notes of appreciation.

 

 

1. Change the culture from isolation to one of true community.

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