While in the general population, men are 3 to 4 times more likely to complete suicide than women, it is quite the opposite amongst doctors. Women doctors are more than twice as likely to complete suicide than their male colleagues.
Doctors are more likely than the general public to:
– be divorced
– have addictions – to alcohol or other substances
– suffer a burnout
– have a psychotic episode
Not surprisingly, they are extremely good at hiding their mental state.
In the NHS, 25% of doctors are from other countries but they form a disproportionate 40% of those seeking help for significant problems such as depression and excessive alcohol consumption.
The document ‘Understanding why doctors present late’ from the 1st European Conference. PAIMM 2001 states:
This is a generalisation but these are said to be common traits of doctors: perfectionists, narcissists, compulsives, denigrators of vulnerability and martyrs.
Given the combination of the above traits with the current TOXIC work environment of the NHS and the high emotional burden that doctors have to carry by nature of their work, is it any surprise that their mental well-being is seriously jeopardised?
- Doctors are invincible
- Sick doctors always know when they are sick
- Sick doctors who know they’re sick always know what they need to get better
- Sick doctors always get excellent treatment
- Doctors always follow doctors advice
- Doctors look after themselves
I am sure some of these are applicable to other professions. I also hope that I am not being too much of a martyr here!
Are we kind enough to ourselves and to each other at work?