COVID-19 Negatively Affecting Physician Wellness, Survey Shows
By David Doolittle

PHW_Suicide

Stress and uncertainty already can take their toll on physicians’ well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has at times only exacerbated those feelings. 

In fact, 50% of physicians have experienced inappropriate anger, tearfulness, or anxiety because of COVID-19’s effects on their practice or employment, according to a new survey on the pandemic’s effects on physicians. 

Perhaps even more disturbing is that almost 1 in 4 physicians (22%) reported knowing a physician who has committed suicide, according to the survey, the second in the Physician Foundation’s three-part 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians

Other troubling findings from the survey show that due to practice or employment changes as a result of  COVID-19: 

  • 30% of physicians cited feelings of hopelessness or having no purpose ;
  • 24% of physicians sought medical attention for a physical problem; and
  • 8% have had thoughts of self-harm. 

On the other hand, 90% of physicians surveyed said family members have been the most help in maintaining their well-being during the pandemic. 

The Physician Foundation released the survey today, in recognition of National Physician Suicide Awareness Day

To raise awareness of physician suicide, the Physicians Foundation created Vital Signs, which provides tools to help understand the warning signs to look for in someone who may be suicidal. The initiative also provides a guide to help start a conversation with a physician who may need support. 

The Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Physician Health and Wellness also is committed to supporting your well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 20 health and wellness CME courses.  

The Texas Medical Association is a founding member of the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit grant-making organization.

 

Last Updated On

September 17, 2020

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David Doolittle

Editor

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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