Each September, the United States observes Suicide Prevention Month. The month is dedicated to raising awareness around mental health and addressing the increasing rates of suicide in recent years. Suicide prevention is an important topic in healthcare, as clinicians may be more likely impacted by depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. This is evident in the number of suicides among young clinicians, particularly the growing number of suicides reported during residency.
Prevalence of Suicide among Clinicians
Clinicians are a very high-risk group for suicide. They are accustomed to being the caretaker, so many times it is hard to acknowledge and voice that they may be the one who needs self-care. This is why it’s important to promote well-being among all clinicians – from those in medical school to seasoned practitioners.
For residents, wellness is a difficult balancing act. They want to maintain family obligations and strive to be grounded in their first role as an attending, but they also need to learn and navigate their own method of practice. The looming thoughts of loan repayment begin to creep in, along with continuous shift work. It can be very difficult for clinicians to maintain relationships and also focus heavily on their work and their own well-being.
Practicing medicine is more challenging now than ever. The stress on our clinicians is greater than ever before. Consequently, clinicians must prioritize a good work-life balance. We must also care for each other and be aware of the significant stresses our colleagues experience in the workplace. – Dr. Matthew Krauthammer
Promoting Resident Wellness
At TeamHealth, we encourage team members to break that stigma by leaning on colleagues, family and friends. We want them to acknowledge and address when they feel overwhelmed or down and take action to improve their self-care.
However, some residents may be unable to reach out for help for many reasons. They may fear negative reactions or simply be unaccustomed to needing help. That’s when colleagues must engage each other. If a team member seems to be struggling, they may need someone to ask how they’re feeling instead of reaching out themselves.
Every person who has ever undergone clinical education understands the stress of transition. Each stage of education offered unique challenges and assaults on our wellness. Transitioning from residency is no different but we tend to underestimate it as we approach our ultimate life goals. After the excitement of becoming an attending ebbs, many of us are struck by what seems to be a mountain of stress as we survey our future as clinicians. Relationships mature and so do student loans and other financial pressures. However, the personal growth continues and you must pivot to place yourself first in order to remain well. – Dr. Robby Frantz
Suicide Prevention at TeamHealth
At TeamHealth, we make suicide prevention and mental well-being priorities. The residency programs we support are training the next generations of medical professionals, and we aim to help these residents succeed and properly care for themselves.
We are proud to support resident wellness in a variety of ways:
- Prioritization of clinician wellness through a variety of internal resources and programs available to all clinicians, associates and administrators
- Residency Relations Team that focuses on engaging residents outside the clinical setting to promote well-being, self-care and teamwork
- Dedicated teams help residents focus on stressful yet crucial aspects of their practice, including credentialing, onboarding, legal, risk, scheduling and financial planning
Suicide Prevention Month 2022
TeamHealth is committed to clinician well-being. We know that clinicians must care for themselves to deliver high-quality care to patients. Part of this commitment includes actively providing support, resources and connection to residents in TeamHealth-sponsored programs. Learn more about our clinician well-being commitments.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, please reach out for help. Reach the 24/7 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Access the chat feature (English only): http://988lifeline.org/chat