Jun 24, 2021 - Health

Doctors face hurdles to mental health care amid rising distress

Medical brief case

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With an already high-pressure job — made exponentially more stressful amid the pandemic — physicians around the U.S. faced soaring levels of mental distress in the last year and a dearth of resources to help them, Vox reports.

Why it matters: The providers who are often the first line of defense in caring for patients with mental health crises face major hurdles — including fear of harm to their career and lack of support from employers — to getting help themselves.

  • Studies show an average of 119 doctors in the U.S. takes their own lives each year. But that's likely an undercount with a potential toll as large as 300 to 400 deaths per year — roughly double the suicide rate in the general population, Vox writes.
  • "The powers that be need to start getting it through their heads that this is a problem," Myles Greenberg, a former ER doctor who lost a friend who was also an ER doctor to suicide told Vox.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, in addition to prevention and crisis resources. Also available for online chat.

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