Year: 2008 Source: Annals of Family Medicine, v.6, no.3, (May/June 2008), p.267-269 SIEC No: 20080531

An estimated 250 American physicians will die by suicide in 2008. In this essay, the author shares her grief & guilt over the suicide of a colleague while reflecting on both the scale of this largely unacknowledged problem & the stigma that prevents the medical profession from adequately addressing it. Fears regarding loss of professional stature & respect often prevent depressed physicians from accessing needed mental health services. This same stigma can also compound the mourning process of colleagues & family. As a profession, physicians must strengthen existing resources for impaired colleagues & work collaboratively to destigmatize treatment for mental illnesses. (7 refs.)