|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Suicide among doctors
Sai Krishna Puli
Editor, TJP, Professor of Psychiatry, Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Karimnagar, Telangana, India
|Date of Submission||02-May-2022|
|Date of Decision||05-May-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||06-May-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||30-May-2022|
Dr. Sai Krishna Puli
Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagunur, Karimnagar, Telangana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Puli SK. Suicide among doctors. Telangana J Psychiatry 2022;8:1-2
Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die. India is home to approximately 1 million doctors, which is the largest globally. The risk of suicide among doctors is considered 2.5 times higher than that in the general population. The suicide rates among female doctors are more when compared to males probably due to the stress in balancing their personal and professional lives. There is an increasing trend in the suicides among doctors which will have a negative impact on our society and a fear of getting into medical profession.
There are multiple causes for suicides in the medical profession at both personal and professional levels. Stress at the workplace is the most important reason.
Due to the lack of adequate hospital supplies and infrastructure in most districts of India, doctors have to struggle with providing the best possible care with limited resources.
There is often neglect or delay in seeking help regarding mental health among health-care professionals (HCPs) due to many reasons such as the stigma against mental illness and a perception that doctors should be able to look after themselves and seeking help is often seen as a sign of weakness.
In recent times, violence on doctors is increasing and that is also contributing to suicides. Public demands from doctors and an inability to satisfy patient's expectations are leading to helplessness in doctors.
The pandemic has tremendously impacted HCPs. Long working hours, hostile work environment, the frustration of not being able to save lives, and isolation from family members have affected the mental health and led to suicide in a few instances.
Burnout in doctors can lead to isolation, sense of failure, poor self-esteem, and depression with suicide or attrition from medical practice, thereby increasing pressure on others.
Various reasons for successful suicides among HCPs include knowledge of lethal methods, easy access to potentially lethal drugs which can cause painless death, apathy, and fearlessness toward death after closely working with life–death situations regularly.
| Strategies to Reduce Suicide Among Doctors|| |
- Various preventive strategies can be implanted to reduce the suicide rates among doctors at both institutional and government levels
- A good primary preventive measure to minimize suicides in doctors would be to conduct routine mental health checkups in health-care institutions and mental health screening of students enrolling in health-care courses
- Awareness programs targeting mental health and warning signs of suicides should be conducted
- Reduction in work-related stress can be achieved with measures such as the regularization of fixed-duty shifts and work hours, stress management workshops, and social and recreational activities
- Doctors should spend quality time with family and maintain their own physical and mental well-being
- Regular involvement in outdoor and indoor sports, yoga, meditation, etc.
- Avoid negative lifestyle practices such as long working hours without breaks, alcohol, and smoking
- Telehealth services dedicated to medical professionals of India are the need of the hour
- Centralized information collection should be done by professional bodies such as Indian Medical Association or Medical Council of India (or current National Medical Commission) as there is a paucity of data regarding the suicidal rates among Indian doctors.
”Death of a doctor is death of society.”
”Doctors are made from society with lot of resources used at various levels. It is responsibility of everyone to protect the front line warriors and prevent suicides.”
| References|| |
Kishor M, Chandran S, Vinay HR, Ram D. Suicide among Indian doctors. Indian J Psychiatry 2021;63:279-84. [Full text]
Das N, Khar P, Karia S, Shah N. Suicide among health care professionals – An Indian perspective. Healthcare 2022;10:354.
Ventriglio A, Watson C, Bhugra D. Suicide among doctors: A narrative review. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:114-20. [Full text]