Why Are So Many Doctors Dying By Suicide? (with Carrie Cunningham, MD)
According to a recent article by Christina Frangou in the Guardian, “doctors are dying by suicide at higher rates than the general population. Somewhere between 300 to 400 physicians a year in the US take their own lives, the equivalent of one medical school graduating class annually.”
This sobering statistic from the eye-opening Guardian article (aptly titled “US surgeons are killing themselves at an alarming rate. One decided to speak out”) resonated with Your Doctor Friends, and we are fortunate enough to have the inspiration of that article, Dr. Carrie Cunningham HERE WITH US!
Dr. Cunningham is an endocrine surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a professorship at Harvard. She was recently elected President of the Association of Academic Surgery. Her Presidential Address at the AAS 2023 National Meeting, titled “Removing the Mask” created quite a stir, as she shared her personal struggles with depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, and her connection to a friend and colleague (Dr. Christina “Tina” Barkley) who died by suicide.
Imagine getting up in front of thousands of your colleagues and baring the most vulnerable parts of yourself. It took tons of courage, and the YouTube video of her address went viral.
This week we try a bit of a “hybrid” format for Health Headlines. We just had to capitalize on this fantastic opportunity to speak directly with the subject of the article, and get her take straight from the source! Thanks for listening to this one, friends, it means a lot 🙂
Resources from the episode include:
The Guardian article, “US surgeons are killing themselves at an alarming rate. One decided to speak out.“
YouTube link to Dr. Carrie Cunningham’s Presidential Address at the 2023 Academic Surgical Congress, titled “Removing the Mask.“
The 1973 JAMA article, “The Sick Physician. Impairment by Psychiatric Disorders, Including Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.“
The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation website.
The Association of Academic Surgery‘s website.
Dr. Cunningham’s professional MassGen profile.
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