Today, September 17, Collier County Medical Society (CCMS) honors National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (NPSA Day) to help shift the health care system from one where physicians think burnout, depression, or suicidal thoughts are something they must overcome by themselves to one where they see the support system around them. As a NPSA Day Supporting Organization, CCMS is sharing suicide prevention resources and encouraging its physician members to use the CCMS Physician Wellness Program, which offers six confidential, cost-free psychological sessions to each member per year.
As we move farther from the onset of the pandemic, physicians are still facing the same issues they were a year ago: 6 in 10 feel inappropriate feelings of anger, tearfulness or anxiety, one-third feel hopeless or that they have no purpose, and nearly half report withdrawing from family, friends, and co-workers. These feelings can lead to burnout and, when left untreated, can cause more cases of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and lead to suicidal thoughts for physicians, directly impacting physician suicide rates.
Physicians have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession. More than half of physicians know a physician who has either considered, attempted, or died by suicide in their career. It’s estimated that one million Americans lose their physician to suicide each year. Further, physicians also do not know where to go for help—more than one in three physicians do not believe that suicide prevention resources for physicians exist and are easy to access.
However, physicians have identified who and what supports their mental health—confidential therapy, counseling, or support phone lines. Now is the time to get these mental health resources in the hands of physicians. CCMS encourages the community to access and share the suicide prevention resources for immediate and ongoing physician support, and the tools healthcare systems can use to improve physician wellbeing; and to learn more about the CCMS Physician Wellness Program at ccmsonline.org/physician-wellness. The program, which has provided over 100 counseling sessions to physicians so far this year and nearly 600 sessions since March 2017, recently received a $26,000 contribution from the Southwest Florida Physicians Association.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
About National Physician Suicide Awareness Day
National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (#NPSADay) is a reminder and call to action. It’s a time to talk – and to act – so physicians’ struggles don’t become mental health emergencies. Prevention begins with learning the signs, starting the conversations, understanding and removing the underlying barriers and sharing the resources that can help those in distress seek mental health care. National Physician Suicide Awareness Day is an annual event that takes place on September 17, with a mission to break down the culture of silence around physician mental health. Learn more at NPSADay.org.
About Collier County Medical Society
Collier County Medical Society is an organization of physicians dedicated to serving the needs of our physician members, so they can better serve the needs of the community. CCMS was founded in 1957 and over the past 60+ years has grown to over 700 physician members representing all specialties. Membership is voluntary and brings together physicians who have an interest in organized medicine and share the goals of maintaining high standards of clinical care in Collier County. CCMS is affiliated with Florida Medical Association and the American Medical Association.