Physician burnout and suicide are a growing problem, according to a new study published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threating Behavior.
According to the study, about one in 15 doctors have suicidal thoughts. The study examined information about the investigation of 200 suicides of doctors across the country between 2003 and 2018.
The researchers identified six themes in the reports: inability to work due to declining health, substance use that jeopardizes work, relationship conflicts that affect work, interactions between mental health and work-related issues, legal issues, and financial stress.
In the short term, the study notes, doctors need better access to primary care services, as well as help with scheduling and privacy issues.
In the long term, broader changes are needed to address workplace stress and poor physician self-care.
The tacit culture of medicine encourages self-sacrifice, delayed needs, and delayed gratification.
The authors added that health systems and medical schools should provide more education in personal finance and legal support. It is also important, they say, to nurture a sense of security and community among doctors.