Day 173

Mental illness is rife within the medical profession.

Recent research shows that half of all medical students would not feel able to talk to their tutors if they felt depressed. We need to get better at accepting that things go wrong for medical students and doctors in the same way that they do for all people. In the US alone, 400 doctors are lost to suicide every year, equivalent to 3 medical school graduating classes. A huge and needless toll.

There is little focus during medical training on recognising depression in others, leave alone ourselves.

Unsurprisingly there is reluctance to ask for help due to stigma associated with mental illness and the fear of losing the license to practice.

Burnout, depression and suicidality are occupational hazards for medics. A widely cited meta-analysis states that male physicians are 40% more likely to commit suicide as compared to men among the general populace whereas female physicians are 130% more likely to do the same compared to women in a control group.

Well, we know how to do it painlessly. Makes it “easier” perhaps.

It is such a tragedy that even within the medical community we are unable to have a good understanding of mental illness and provide adequate support for each other.

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