By Heather Owen, MD, TeamHealth Chief Clinical Officer, Emergency Medicine, and Co-chair of the TeamHealth Clinician Resiliency Work Group
Last week, I opened one of my medical newsletters to find an article remembering physicians we have lost to suicide. It was a sobering reminder of what we already know – there is a high rate of suicide and increasing rate of burnout among healthcare professionals. The pandemic has exacerbated an existing problem. Those on the COVID-19 frontlines are now at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, psychological stress and burnout.
At TeamHealth, we encourage physicians, advanced practice clinicians and all those who support the practice of medicine to make their mental health and well-being a priority. TeamHealth is proud to join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to promote National Suicide Prevention Month in September.
This month, we will share stories of hope from TeamHealth clinicians and associates, shed light on this often stigmatized topic and provide resources to prevent suicide on our social media pages using the hashtag #SuicidePrevention.
Help us create awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 by:
- Taking photos of yourself wearing purple, teal or gray
- Sharing those photos on social media using #SuicidePrevention
Support each other.
I have most certainly exhibited signs and symptoms classically defined as burnout several times in my career. At one of my low points, I was anxious and devastated that my 5-year-old daughter was undergoing eight eye surgeries in a four-month time span to try to save her vision, and I was in the second trimester with my fourth child. I was struggling to meet my professional responsibilities while needing to be with my family more, as I had stretched myself too thin, but I was able to carry on with the incredible support of my colleagues. Read more about my experience here.
We understand there are situations and circumstances that are difficult to face. If you are feeling worn down or burnt out, you are not alone. You can get the help and support you need.
Call 1.800.273.8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources and best practices for professionals.
Call 1.888.409.0141. The Physician Support Line was founded by a group of psychiatrists to provide free psychiatric support for physicians and medical students.