A new CDC report shows that suicide among veterinarians is much higher than in the general population. Experts discuss the unique stresses that affect these professionals, including financial, compassion fatigue, euthanasia, and online harassment. They also discuss measures being taken to prevent mental health struggles and suicide.
Dr. Jason Sweitzer, veterinarian, Thousand Oaks, CA and board member, Not One More Vet
Dr. Debbie Stoewen, Director of Veterinary Affairs, Lifelearn Animal Health
A cancer diagnosis can create stress that goes beyond the breaking point. A new study in the journal Nature Communications shows that people with cancer are more than four times more likely to commit suicide compared to other people. White men and people who receive a diagnosis at a younger age are most likely to complete suicide, along with people who are diagnosed with lung, head and neck, and testicular cancers. Researchers say that even though cancer is a major cause of death in the U.S., most cancer patients survive it and die of other causes.
Electric scooters are a rapidly rising cause of injury, and a new study shows that one in three people involved in an e-scooter accident is injured badly enough to need treatment in the E.R. The study in the journal JAMA Network Open shows that 40 percent of those hurt had head injuries and another 32 percent had fractures. Only four percent of those hurt were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Falls rather than collisions made up nearly three-quarters of the accidents.
And finally… it turns out that people who are good navigators are almost always good at identifying smells as well. A study in the journal Nature Communications finds that the same area of the brain is used for both of these two very different tasks, and that the brain region is bigger in people who are good at them. Scientists admit the finding surprised them.
A silent epidemic is at work in doctors around the world: depression. An estimated 400 physicians are lost each year to suicide, often because of unacknowledged and untreated mental illnesses. Dr. Pamela Wible, founder of the Ideal Medical Care movement and author of Physician Suicide Letters, Answered, and Dr. Louise Andrew, founder of MD Mentor, explain why doctors are committing suicide at a higher rate than the general population and why others are covering it up.
Starting from medical school, through residency, and then in their professional practices, doctors face a harsh and often unhealthy school and work environment that leaves many of them frustrated and disappointed. In turn, the suicide rate for doctors is two to five times higher than that of the general population, Dr. Wible says. Furthermore, doctors have a greater knowledge of drugs and the human body, which leads their suicide attempts to result in death more often.
The root of these high suicide rates is often left undiscovered or covered up. Many doctors will not be able to diagnose themselves or will not be approached by concerned colleagues or family members. If the mental illness is discovered, doctors often avoid acknowledging it for fear of losing their medical license or insurance. Finally, if doctors do try to get treatment, they are faced with an additional challenge; many doctors feel uncomfortable treating other doctors.
With the odds stacked against them, Dr. Wible and Dr. Andrew say that the responsibility falls to all of us to bring this issue to light and to acknowledge that our physicians are people too.
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Dr. Pamela Wible, founder of the Ideal Medical Care movement and author of Physician Suicide Letters, Answered
Doctors are attempting suicide in high numbers, and are much more likely than the general population to complete it. Experts discuss the coverup of doctor suicides, the reasons behind depression in doctors, and why doctors who are depressed are less likely than normal to get help.
Synopsis: Children whose parents die by suicide face a difficult emotional recovery. Well-meaning adults often make it worse with their mistakes in how they talk about the death. Experts discuss the right and wrong ways to help children cope with parental suicide.
Host: Nancy Benson. Guests: Wendy Parmley, psychotherapist and author, Hope After Suicide: One Woman’s Journey From Darkness to Light; Donna Schuurman, CEO, Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families, Portland, OR.