Article written based on the study available on Slate – The mental health of physicians is in steep decline, and it’s detrimental to everyone.
🏥 Frontliners for Physicians’ Well-being
Mental health among physicians is in steep decline, and it’s detrimental to both them and their patients. To understand this issue, we must delve into the world of medicine, where pressure, stress, and stigma have created an alarming situation.
Twice a week, Elissa Ely, a psychiatrist in the Boston area, volunteers on an anonymous helpline dedicated to medical professionals in crisis. The calls she receives are distressing, with doctors experiencing panic attacks, substance abuse, alcoholism, divorces, and other complex personal issues.
Nevertheless, despite the high level of mental distress, most doctors are hesitant to consult a psychiatrist. Elissa Ely points out that these professionals “live in fear of losing their identity or the life they have built and their license.”
Revealing Statistics 📊
In October of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a detailed report on healthcare workers’ burnout levels. This study, based on surveys conducted between 2018 and 2022, reveals a significant deterioration in the mental health of medical personnel.
According to a national survey in 2021, the percentage of physicians exhibiting at least one symptom of burnout has increased by 43% compared to the pre-COVID-19 era. The suicide rate among physicians is also higher than that of the general American population, with female doctors facing a risk twice as great as their male counterparts. A recent survey showed that nearly 10% of physicians had considered suicide or attempted it.
Inequality of Risks 🚺🚹
Not all doctors face the same risks. Primary care providers, such as emergency physicians, internists, and pediatricians, are the most likely to suffer from burnout. It is alarming to note that female doctors are more affected by this crisis than their male colleagues.
Self-Stigmatization of Caregivers 🙅♀️
Ironically, many doctors find it challenging to seek help, even though they are comfortable prescribing treatments and mental healthcare to their patients. Seeking care for their own mental health is still widely stigmatized.
A Cascade Effect 💔
This situation has devastating consequences for both doctors and patients. Healthcare professionals suffering from increasing mental distress are more likely to abandon their medical practice. Given the severe physician shortage that the healthcare system is facing, this crisis has repercussions on access to medical care.
PaperDoc: A Partner for Mental Healthcare 🌞
PaperDoc, dedicated to the well-being of healthcare professionals, is actively working to provide support and assistance tools for frontline doctors. Breaking the silence and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health is imperative. We are committed to supporting those who dedicate their lives to saving ours. Physicians’ mental health is crucial to the quality of care they provide to their patients.
This is a problem that requires immediate attention and concerted action. France is facing similar challenges, and it’s time to take steps to change this reality.
Join PaperDoc, and Together, Let’s Change the Landscape of Physicians’ Mental Health.
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