The paper also addresses the role of a healing community from an ethics perspective.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is offering guidance on preventing physician suicides and what the role of a healing community should be from an ethics perspective.
According to a news release, the paper, titled “Physician Suicide Prevention and the Ethics and Role of a Healing Community: An American College of Physicians Policy Paper,” was developed by the ACP’s Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights Committee as suicide becomes a major global public health issue and the increased recognition of physician suicide.
“Like patients, physicians need to be supported by a healing community and the response to anyone who dies by suicide should be characterized by respect and concern,” George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, president of ACP, says in the release. “ACP supports the need for education, screening, and access to mental health treatment, beginning at the earliest stages of medical training.”
The paper looks at the issues that come up when both individuals and institutions attempt to respond to physician suicides and when they engage in broader efforts aimed at preventing them. The topics addressed in the paper include:
“The medical community’s commitment to foundational ethical principles and professional values, including the duty to care for the ill, shared accountability, respect for privacy and confidentiality, and transparent and honest communication can help transform it into a true healing community that also encourages self-care and physicians caring for one another,” Abraham says.