By Loretta Howitt, MD
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Los Angeles
Regional Chair, SCPMG Physician Well-being Committee

Many of us have been visited by suicidal thoughts. In this place, darkness encases us and the avenues for relief from pain are invisible. Share your thoughts with another. What we can accomplish together is greater than what you may be able to do alone.

The following are some places to begin:

Experts at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention say that each year in the U.S. about 300 to 400 physicians die by suicide and that depression is a major risk factor in physician suicide. This organization’s website, along with a number of others, provides important information to determine if you or someone you know is considering suicide.

Watch this 55-minute PBS documentary, “Struggling in Silence, Physician Depression and Suicide,” for a better understanding of why physicians have difficulty reaching out for help.

Fellow physicians at the California Medical Association provide completely confidential doctor-to-doctor assistance by phone, through its hotline, California Medical Association Confidential Assistance Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a complete website, with a variety of resources.