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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.

Go deeper

Sep 9, 2021 - Health

HHS awards over $18M in grants to bolster students' health care access

Students and parents in line to enter school. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Biden administration has awarded over $18 million in grants to expand students' access to health care and mental health support as the new school year takes off, according to new numbers shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Both children's mental health and their utilization of mental health services worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, per research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The return to in-person instruction could also lead to increased health risks depending on masking and vaccinations in the community.

9 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

9 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.