Depression, Anxiety, and Physician Suicide

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Physicians suffer from mental health issues, particularly depression, at higher rates than the general population, due to many of the same factors that contribute to burnout. However, there is a stigma within the profession that prevents them from getting help. This stigma can be based on feedback from self, colleagues, hospitals/medical systems, and licensing boards. Self-criticism by physicians may lead to self-stigmatization. Colleagues may be afraid to broach the topic of mental health and fail to refer their peers to professional help. Hospitals/medical systems often label physicians suffering from mental health issues as ”unprofessional.” Lastly, licensing boards may discriminate against physicians who disclose prior psychiatric history. Major depressive disorder is the most common diagnosis among physicians. Anxiety disorders have been less well-studied but are likely also to be a major problem. Approximately 300 to 400 physicians are estimated to die from suicide each year, and untreated mental health conditions are a significant risk factor. Action at individual, institutional, and organizational levels is necessary to combat the stigma of mental illness.

Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Medical Professionalism
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780197506226, 9780197506257
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Cite this