September 17 is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day
With more than 400 deaths each year, suicide among physicians is a crisis we cannot ignore. Nearly every person in the medical community has been affected by physician suicide.
While there is a national call to take this one day to raise awareness surrounding physician suicide, the Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Physicians' Health Program provides resources and services to health care professionals struggling with mental health issues every day.
Below are some resources if you or someone you know is struggling, and some informational materials surrounding this important topic:
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255, provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
The Pennsylvania Physicians' Health Program serves eligible health care professionals struggling with substance use disorders, mental illness and other behavioral health concerns. PHP staff can be reached by phone Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (866) 747-2255 or (717) 558-7819, Friday (emergency calls only) at (717) 558-7817, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of Suicidology is hosting a day of Facebook interviews for National Physician Suicide Awareness Day on Thursday, Sept. 17. You can follow their page for interviews with suicide prevention experts talking about physician suicide and what we can do to help.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has compiled postvention resources, facts about mental health and suicide, resources for health care professionals and medical educators, and a list of prevention programs.
The Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine has resources for National Physician Suicide Awareness Day.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education compiled 10 facts about physician suicide and mental health.
The American Psychiatric Association Foundation's Center for Workplace Mental Health shared suicide prevention and response tools.
Emotional PPE is an organization that offers free individual therapy for health care
workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is confidential.
AMA's StepsForward provides a checklist for helping identify physicians who may be
at risk of suicide, helping facilitate access to appropriate care, and answering common
questions about physician distress and suicidal behavior.
Dr. Dike Drummond from TheHappyMD.com shares this five-minute video
and walks you through some tips on how to reach out to a fellow physician or other
human in distress.
Vital Signs by The Physicians Foundation lists five vital signs to watch for in
colleagues and has a nice conversation tips sheet on having a difficult
conversation with somebody you recognize is struggling.
Project Parachute is an organization that offers free individual therapy and, in some
states peer support, for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The
support is confidential.
Physician Suicide: A Call to Action is an article that was published in May/June 2019 in Missouri Medicine, the journal of the Missouri State Medical Association.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published these five things to know about physician suicide in May 2019. They also produced a podcast about physician suicide.
Many thanks to our colleagues at the Federation of State Physicians' Health Programs for assistance in compiling these resources.