Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 173 | June 27, 2022

Why Physicians Die By Suicide

Dr. Michael Myers

Vice Chair of Education - Downstate University Medical Center


Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. In previous episodes, we’ve had some guests that talked about the problem of substance abuse among physicians. We heard about an incredible film documentary on physician suicide, and we heard from physicians about their journey with burnout. This is an important topic because it doesn’t just impact doctors and their families. It also affects patients. According to one statistic, physician suicide affects 900,000 patients per year in the United States, and a physician dies by suicide in the U.S. on an average of one per day. That speaks to a significantly larger problem in healthcare. Recently, I read the book, Why Physicians Die by Suicide: and I knew I had to have the author on since he has a unique insight into this problem. Today, my guest is Dr. Michael Myers, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at SUNY-Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn. He’s a specialist in physician health, a researcher, teacher, and consultant, as well as an author of nine books. He’s a highly regarded speaker and lecturer on all aspects of physician well-being.

Michael shares the story about his medical school roommate who committed suicide. We find out how Dr. Myers started out in Internal Medicine and the game changing decision that made him take the leap into Psychiatry. Dr. Orsini and Dr. Meyers share their concerns on the “elephant in the room” problem, how we got into this crisis. Many physicians are asking for help, but as Dr. Meyers explains there is work being done to make it easier and more permissible to ask for help. We dive into Dr. Meyers book, and he shares stories about the hundreds of families he interviewed, and how this changed his life, To the family and friends of physicians out there, Dr. Meyers goes in depth on how they can identify the red flags To the physicians who are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, he sheds some light on what the rules and laws are that protect them, and the best way to find the psychiatrist that is right for them. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. Go ahead and download this episode now!

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