Monday, February 9, 2015

APA to Host Live Chat Discussing Suicide among Physicians

Given their medical expertise and close access to care, physicians are in a position to have a lower risk of mortality than the general population. However, while this holds true for many physical ailments like heart disease, physicians actually have a higher risk of suicide death than their peers. 

The American Psychiatric Association, along with suicide expert Michael Myers, M.D., a professor of clinical psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center will participate in a live Medscape chat on February 10 to discuss this critical issue and answer audience questions.

Every year, approximately 400 physicians in the United States die by suicide, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among medical students. And those same factors of expertise and access contribute to physicians having a higher suicide completion rate than the general public, according to reliable estimates.

The factors behind suicide and suicide ideation in the medical community are not yet well-understood, though physicians do experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, particularly during their formative years. A recent cross-sectional study also suggests that disparaging or harassing remarks from superiors contributes to this risk. “Physician suicide is very real and is not going away,” said Dr. Myers. “It is well known that medical school and residency can be stressful - as can medical practice in today's world. We plan to discuss ways in which we can identify medical students and physicians at risk and to reach out earlier and try to prevent this tragic loss of highly educated and talented health professionals.”

The chat will begin at 1:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday, February 10, and can be accessed at:

For some more information on the factors potentially underlying physician suicide, see the Psychiatric News article, “Job Stress, Lack of MH Treatment Increase Risk of Physician Suicide.”



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