Suicide in the Medical Profession

Summary of main points:
– being a dr is a high-stress profession
– a systemic issue? Or an individual issue? A Dr’s death by suicide
– are work conditions for doctors contributing to the problem?
– long hrs | long shifts | postings | isolation from friends | lack of compassion for each other within the medical profession which is also highly competitive | high professional standards | exposure to suffering/trauma | paperwork/systems demands | bullying/harassment culture,might one person describing it as a “brutal culture”, particularly in the area of mental health & empathy for sufferers of depression | high expectations/dismissal of others as not being able to “cut it” – weeding out the so-called “weak” | mental health stigma is still strong/high within the medical profession
– medical schools push unsustainable & unrelenting standards + specialisation standards upon graduation further increase training & study loads = burnout
– a 2013 Beyond Blue survey found that doctors reported higher levels of psychological distress & attempted suicide more than the national average | 1 in 4 reported suicidal ideation & 1 in 5 had been diagnosed with, & treated for, depression | 1 in 2 young doctors/recent graduates reported emotional exhaustion
– concerns about privacy & confidentiality (particularly in small communities) is said to prevent many doctors seeking professional help & care
– Australia’s mandatory reporting laws with respect to doctors is said to further exacerbate the problem – by making doctors feel there is nobody to turn to – if a treating believes they could harm the public & this then triggers a series of investigations which can lead to suspension, de-registration & ultimately professional humiliation
– The article notes that the public hospital system is busier and has less “thinking time” than ever before – a dangerous cocktail exists – Burnt out all the doctors and anxious, stressed and depressed younger doctors

– if you need understanding, help & support & you live in Canberra, call me, Mark Taylor, Psychologist, on 0467 087 300

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