Year: 2020 Source: Indian Journal of Psychiatry. (2020). 62, 114-120. DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_767_19 SIEC No: 20200249

Doctors across the world work in stressful conditions, often making life or death decisions under considerable pressure. With changes in patient and societal expectations, these pressures continue to rise. For several decades, it has been
illustrated that rates of psychiatric disorders, especially suicide, are considerably higher in doctors than the general population. We performed a comprehensive literature search of suicide in doctors. Using defined terms (suicide,
self‑harm, doctors, physicians, residents) in PubMed, we identified pertinent articles for review. We find that suicide in doctors is influenced by exposure to the physical and emotional distress endemic to the profession. These experiences
may be compounded by emotional giving to the brink of exhaustion; a lack of positive feedback; alongside workplace isolation and poor support networks. Moreover, risks may be magnified by impacts outside of work; long hours, strained family relationships, poor work–life balance, as well as system and organizational politics. Despite this, doctors persistently avoid seeking help because of stigma against mental illnesses, stigma against themselves, and growing concerns that disclosure may impact their medical license. In many cases, doctors choose to self-medicate with prescription medications, alcohol, and a range of other substances. It is important that health services respond promptly, adequately, and sensibly to the needs of doctors in distress. Organizations including regulators have a moral responsibility to care for the wellbeing of its staff. A proactive approach to well‑being, through training, and support will not only benefit doctors but also the patients who utilize their services each day.