Created by the Division of Diversity & Inclusion
Happy new year to all! Every year that goes by, I marvel at how quickly the year has passed. Nevertheless, 2019 is here and, with it, comes a chance to learn and grow. Late last year, I became increasingly aware of an issue that affects all of us. The issue is that of the disturbing rate of physician mental health issues and, specifically how it relates to physician suicide. I know, not the most uplifting topic for the first post in the new year, but an important one to be aware of. However, what’s more important than recognizing that physician suicide is a thing, albeit an unfortunately prevalent one if we read or listen to the news, is the larger issue of how we treat physician mental health issues. Slowly, but surely, the conversation is starting to shift towards understanding that marginalizing mental health issues among healthcare providers, specifically those of us who deal with frontline traumatic cases, is detrimental to all. It is no longer acceptable to hide the fact that issues like depression and anxiety affect many of us. The fear of being stigmatized by our colleagues and medical boards is a large reason that many physicians do not seek the appropriate care they need. The time has come for this to stop. Maybe 2019 will be the year that we can change this.
Check out this recent article published in ACEPNow about one physician’s struggle to retain her medical license to practice after appropriately seeking care for her mental health issues.
Also, here’s an article I recently wrote for FemInEM about physician suicide. Look out soon for a FemInEM podcast I also recently had the pleasure of doing about this very topic. It was educational for me and, hopefully, will be for all of you who listen.