Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sad doctor

…David Noonan takes on the subject of physician suicide in the Apr 28th Newsweek.

…A documentary is coming up on public TV called “Struggling in Silence,” which discusses depression in doctors.

…HA’s father was a physician and self-medicated for depression, we think.

…Every year, 300-400 doctors take their own lives, did you know that? They have the highest rate of suicide of any profession.

…Undiagnosed and untreated depression is the culprit. “Physician, heal thyself.” They didn’t think that up for nothing!

…Males docs have the same rate of depression as males in the gen pop—12%. But their suicide rate is 1.4 times higher.

…Female doctors have double the rate of all females and 2.3 times the suicide rate.

…Doctors apparently don’t seek treatment. They feel, as HA’s dad did, that seeking treatment might affect their reputations and practices. Doctoring is macho, despite the women in it—they don’t want to seem to need caring for.

…Doctors also have access to more drugs for suicide attempts and thus have a better success to attempts ratio than other people.

…The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( was involved in this. Their take is that if doctors can recognize depression in themselves, they are more likely to deal with it effectively in others.

…Good point. And we already have a doctor shortage.

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