Five Things to Know About Physician Suicide
Suicide is the only cause of death to be higher in physicians than in non physicians. Male physicians are 40% more likely to commit suicide than non-physicians, and female physicians are 127% more likely to commit suicide than non-physicians.
Firearms are the most common method to commit suicide. Physicians are more likely to use poisoning, which is likely due to their easier access to prescription medication.
In a recent study, 11.1% of medical students had suicidal thoughts. 7.4% of students had thoughts within the past two weeks, and 24.2% of students had thoughts within the year.
In a study done of 8000 physicians, it was found that suicidal thoughts increased if the physician had complaints against them. 2.5% of physicians without patient complaints had suicidal thoughts, but 9.3% in those with a recent complaint, and 13.4% in those who had past complaints.
Physicians who are contemplating suicide may have trouble getting care. They may fear a lack of confidentiality, they will lose their medical license or lose other hospital privileges. This adds to the burden of facing stigma and lack of time to seek care.