Doctors Have A High Suicide Rate, and No One Is Sure How to Help Them

Not one time in this article does the author talk about the debt associated with becoming a doctor.  According to statistics back in 2016, doctors would graduate with an average of $198,000 in debt (AAMC).  This is just an average and some students graduate with $330,000 of student loan debt.  Starting salaries for a student out of medical school can vary by the field with physicians and surgeons starting out around $184,000 a year (Chron).  There’s also this image that some doctors like to portray which is to live a lavish lifestyle by buying a new BMW, an expensive house, getting married and many other things which in turn increases their debt.

After completing years of grueling classes and tests, a doctor comes out hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.  I can see how depression can set in with high debt, stressful job, life, etc.  Doctors have easy access to prescription medicine for depression which can cause the downward spiral to increase.  I am not sure what the solution is to this epidemic but if I had to guess, it would be the amount of debt accumulated during school.

Medical doctors are more likely to die from suicide than members of any other profession in the US, suggests new research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. And worse than that, few interventions seem to have helped make these suicides less common.

Studies have consistently shown that doctors die from suicide at a higher rate annually than people in any other profession, and some research has found that a majority of medical professionals suffer from serious work stress and burnout. But the authors behind this latest work wanted to not only get a clearer picture of how often these deaths happen, but whether any programs have successfully helped lowered rates. So they examined relevant, peer-reviewed studies dealing with both issues over the past 10 years.

They found that anywhere from 28 to 40 doctors per every 100,000 a year die from suicide in the US (in raw numbers, that might amount to anywhere from 300 to 400 suicides a year). By contrast, the annual age-adjusted rate of suicide among all Americans was 13.42 deaths per every 100,000 people in 2016. Women doctors attempted suicide far less often than American women overall, but they died from suicide at roughly the same rate as male doctors. Generally, women are known to have suicidal ideation and to attempt suicide more often than men, but are less likely to die from it.


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