Physician Death by Suicide: Problems Seeking Stakeholder Solutions
6 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2016 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 19, 2016
Medicine has been the deadliest profession in the United States for decades as physicians continuing dying by suicide at rates twice the general population. The problem is difficult to study and much attention has been paid to individual risk and resilience factors. However, occupational risk factors, obsolete definitions of health, and inconsistent regulation provide powerful disincentives to physician health and wellness that must be addressed if this tragic statistic is to change. Employers, licensing authorities, credentialing bodies, and physician advocacy organizations all have a role to play in improving the health of physicians and the practice of medicine. Standardization of regulatory practice in a manner consistent with the gains made by the Americans with Disability Act would be an important step in the process of improving physician health without sacrificing public safety. Physician advocacy organizations also have a role to play in providing or facilitating best practices in physician peer support, consistent and fair regulatory practices, and facilitation change in occupational factors related to impaired physician health and physician death by suicide.
Keywords: physician suicide, suicide prevention, peer support, physician advocacy, medical board practices
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