Suicide among doctors

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Suicide among doctors refers to physicians or doctors in training dying by suicide.

Studies report that physicians are more likely to complete suicide than the general population and even people with similar academic training who are not physicians.[1][2]

The suicide mortality rate ("completion") is about the same among male and female doctors,[3] and significantly higher than the general population.[2] Female physicians are at higher risk of attempting suicide than men,[3][4] showing rates over 250% higher among women and about 70% higher among men versus the general population.[2]

Medical students[edit]

A 1999 paper reported that even though there is agreement that being a doctor increases a person's risk of suicide, there is little research on the risk of suicide among medical students.[5] A study of medical residents in the United States from 2000-2014 found that suicide was one of the leading causes of death in that population.[6]


In 2018 a journalist for Refinery29 reviewed how Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan responds to suicide by its physicians.[7]


Historically, physicians who sought help for suicidal ideation sometimes faced professional punishments including risk of having their medical license revoked, future barriers to career advancement, and restrictions on professional privileges.[8] However, many non-profit organizations and healthcare systems have begun developing tools and resources for physicians and other healthcare professionals to seek help and support as well as to address systemic barriers to treatment.[9] Some professional organizations recommend that health organizations reform policy to allow physicians who want counseling to be able to access it with fewer professional penalties.[8]

In the media[edit]

Do No Harm[10] is a documentary film about physician suicide released in 2018.


  1. ^ Arnetz, B.B.; Hörte, L.G.; Hedberg, A.; Theorell, T.; Allander, E.; Malker, H. (1987). "Suicide patterns among physicians related to other academics as well as to the general population". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 75 (2): 139–143. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1987.tb02765.x. ISSN 0001-690X.
  2. ^ a b c Glaser, Gabrielle (15 August 2015). "Unfortunately, Doctors Are Pretty Good At Suicide". Journal of Medicine. Sausalito, California. ISSN 1940-6967. Retrieved access
  3. ^ a b Lindeman, S.; Laara, E.; Hakko, H.; Lonnqvist, J. (1996). "A systematic review on gender-specific suicide mortality in medical doctors". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 168 (3): 274–279. doi:10.1192/bjp.168.3.274. ISSN 0007-1250.
  4. ^ Schernhammer, Eva S.; Colditz, Graham A. (2004). "Suicide Rates Among Physicians: A Quantitative and Gender Assessment (Meta-Analysis)". American Journal of Psychiatry. 161 (12): 2295–2302. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.161.12.2295. ISSN 0002-953X. PMID 15569903.
  5. ^ Tyssen, Reidar; Vaglum, Per; Grønvold, Nina T.; Ekeberg, Øivind (2001). "Suicidal ideation among medical students and young physicians: a nationwide and prospective study of prevalence and predictors". Journal of Affective Disorders. 64 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1016/S0165-0327(00)00205-6. ISSN 0165-0327.
  6. ^ Yaghmour, Nicholas A.; Brigham, Timothy P.; Richter, Thomas; Miller, Rebecca S.; Philibert, Ingrid; Baldwin, DeWitt C.; Nasca, Thomas J. (July 2017). "Causes of Death of Residents in ACGME-Accredited Programs 2000 Through 2014". Academic Medicine. 92 (7): 976–983. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000001736.
  7. ^ Edwards, Ashley Alese (2 February 2018). "This NYC Hospital Has A Physician Suicide Problem It Doesn't Want You To Know About". Refinery29.
  8. ^ a b Center, Claudia; Davis, Miriam; Detre, Thomas; Ford, Daniel E.; Hansbrough, Wendy; Hendin, Herbert; Laszlo, John; Litts, David A.; Mann, John; Mansky, Peter A.; Michels, Robert; Miles, Steven H.; Proujansky, Roy; Reynolds III, Charles F.; Silverman, Morton M. (2003). "Confronting Depression and Suicide in Physicians". JAMA. 289 (23): 3161. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3161. ISSN 0098-7484.
  9. ^ American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Physician and Medical Student Depression and Suicide Prevention". American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. AFSP. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  10. ^ Do No Harm (2018), retrieved 2017-06-19