Physician Death by Suicide: Problems Seeking Stakeholder Solutions

6 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2016 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016

See all articles by Tracy Gunter

Tracy Gunter

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Indiana University School of Medicine - Indiana University School of Medicine

Date Written: May 19, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gunter, Tracy, Physician Death by Suicide: Problems Seeking Stakeholder Solutions (May 19, 2016). Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2016-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2761854 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2761854

Tracy Gunter (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

Indiana University School of Medicine - Indiana University School of Medicine ( email )

Department of Psychiatry
355 W 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-963-7300 (Phone)
317-963-7325 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.psychiatry.medicine.iu.edu

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