The main contributors to physician suicides

With suicide rates among physicians far outpacing those in other professions, researchers at UC San Diego Health attempted to better understand the job stressors that contribute to the problem. To do this, they reviewed the death investigation narratives from 200 physician suicides collected by the National Violent Death Reporting System between 2003 and 2018.

Using tools that extracted and interpreted data from the reports, the researchers identified six overarching themes:

  1. Incapacity to work due to deterioration of physical health
  2. Substance use jeopardizing employment
  3. Interaction between mental health and work-related issues
  4. Relationship conflict affecting work
  5. Legal problems leading to work-related stress
  6. Increased financial stress

The researchers suggest improving physicians’ access to primary care services and minimizing scheduling challenges as short-term solutions that address workplace stress and poor physician self-care. Long-term solutions to this problem will require broader structural and cultural changes, such as cultivating a sense of safety and community and providing personal finance education and legal support.

Source: UC San Diego Health