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Five things to know about physician suicide

May 06, 2019

Physician suicide is an urgent problem with rates higher than suicide rates in the general public, with potential for extensive impact on health care systems. A "Five things to know about ..." practice article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provides an overview of this serious issue.

Five things about physician suicide:
  • As the only means of death more common in physicians than nonphysicians, suicide is an occupational hazard for physicians.
  • Firearms, overdose and blunt force trauma are the most common means, with benzodiazepines, barbiturates and antipsychotics being the most commonly used drugs.
  • Increased suicidal ideation begins as early as in medical school, with nearly 1 in 4 students surveyed reporting suicidal ideation within the last 12 months.
  • Complaints to regulatory bodies are associated with higher rates of suicidal ideation.
  • Suicidal physicians face unique barriers to care, including concerns regarding confidentiality, and fears of stigmatization and discrimination from peers, employers and licensing bodies.
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Podcast permanent link: https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/181687-five

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