Nearly one in 10 U.S. physicians have thought about or attempted suicide in the past year, a higher percentage than the general population, according to a March 4 report by Medscape.
An average 7.2% of physicians reported suicidal ideation over the past year, higher than the 4% reported for the general U.S. population, and more than one in five physicians said they experience depression, according to the report. The report was completed by 13,069 U.S. physicians from more than 29 specialty areas.
However, about one-third reported seeking help from a therapist, regardless of age. About one-third of millennials reported telling no one, compared with 44% of boomers. Millennials were more likely to say that medical schools and healthcare organizations should be held responsible if a physician dies by suicide.
Medscape said the report comes amid efforts to address this issue, with the stress and burnout from the COVID-19 negatively contributing, as well as physicians' fears of disclosure to licensing or credentialing boards. The report also follows Congressional approval of the Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act, named after the emergency room physician who died by suicide in April 2020.