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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / August 2019 / Physician Suicide Awareness

Physician Suicide Awareness

By: Jeannette Connolly, LCSW

September 17 is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. The purpose of the day is to dedicate time to commemorate colleagues lost to suicide and to raise awareness about the issue. Overall, physicians have a higher rate of suicide than the general public and the highest rate among all professions.

Not surprisingly, burnout and untreated depression are key factors in most physician suicides. At times, just like anyone else, doctors use drugs and alcohol to cope or try to treat depression. Substance abuse can worsen underlying depression. Additionally, substance use can increase suicide risk due to inhibited thinking and underlying health problems not being treated.

Mental Health Professionals encourage physicians to reach out when feeling sad, depressed, or suicidal. Check in with your colleagues, especially if they don’t seem like themselves. Be sure to make some space to talk about the good and the bad. Learn more about the warning signs.

If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety and they aren’t improving, it is important that you reach out for assistance and support. You may contact your doctor or Behavioral Health Partners. Your health professional will walk you through your options, which might include psychotherapy and/or medication.


Keith Stein | 8/8/2019

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