Physicians are at higher risk for suicidal behavior. A recent literature review concluded, "With one completed suicide every day, US physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession. In addition, the number of physician suicides is more than twice that of the general population, new research shows. A systematic literature review of physician suicide shows that the suicide rate among physicians is 28 to 40 per 100,000, more than double that in the general population." (Physicians Experience Highest Suicide Rate of Any Profession - Medscape - May 07, 2018)
If you are having such thoughts this is not because there is something wrong with you as a person. It is not because you don’t have what it takes to complete residency and be a good physician. Please stop right now and
watch this short video. Then read the information below and let someone know the distress and the thoughts you are having.
There are multiple pathways to thinking about suicide and one of the most frequent is correlated to depression. Unremitting depression is a major risk factor for developing suicidal thoughts and eventually acting on them. Many theories describe the emergence of suicidal thinking. According to one explanation, cognitive narrowing, a person becomes increasingly focused on the distressing situations, emotions and thoughts they are experiencing. The person begins to view “for now” situations, emotions and thoughts as “forever.” The person becomes unable to notice the positives in their life and the caring relationships in their support system. As a result, suicide creeps into the person’s thinking, appearing to be a logical choice for dealing with the person’s faulty assessment of their situation. Physicians as a group are at higher risk for suicide and we speculate that this may be related to the confidence physicians develop in their own thinking and problem-solving through their training so that when they conclude, through distortions of cognitive narrowing, that suicide is a logical option they become more at risk for acting on it rather than asking for help.
If you are having thoughts of suicide
Tell someone now
During the weekday contact the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Marshfield Clinic (387-5744) and ask to talk with the triage clinician due to concern for suicidal thinking.
After hours contact the on call clinician through the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Marshfield Clinic via the clinic switchboard (387-5511)
Any time: tell a friend, program director, program coordinator, page a RWBC member, call your clergy person, crisis line. Keep trying until to reach someone.
Let others help you get to the help you need to get through this safely.
Do not isolate at home. Seek others out and ask to spend time with them, spend the night at a friend’s home and explain why.
Have a friend take your medications, firearms, sharp instruments (knives, razors, etc) and keep them for you temporarily.
Alcohol use greatly increases the risk for suicidal thinking and behavior. Remove it from your home for now. Ease of medication access greatly increases risk for suicidal behavior. Give your supplies to a trusted person to hold for you.