AMA Doctors in Training call for urgent help

Doctors urge more understanding and action to combat physician suicide.

The AMA’s journal—the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA)—features a timely call for action from three executive members of the AMA Queensland Committee of Doctors in Training. Dr Natasha Abeysekera, Dr Rachele Quested and Dr Robert Nayer write on the worrying incidences of physician suicide over the past 100 years and the urgent need for change.

While both male and female physicians are committing suicide at a higher rate than the general population, female physicians are committing suicide at a higher rate than their male counterparts.

The authors observe that the culture in medicine leads to “complex professional and personal demands placed upon female physicians (which) have been thought to be a driving factor in increasing their risk of burnout, depression and suicide”.

The AMA Council of Doctors in Training and the Australian Medical Students’ Association releasedtraffic lights flyer last week which “lists all support services available and recommends which to access depending on the level of stress experienced”.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland Council of Doctors-in-Training propose a Queensland Health and Hospital Health Services symposium to hear from experts in the field and to compile a list of actionable items to instigate changes in medical culture.

The article authors argue “status quo is literally killing us. Change was needed years ago, refusing to work towards that change now is inexcusable”.

If this article has raised issues for you, please reach out to any of the following resources:

DRS4DRS: 1300 374 377

  • NSW and ACT … 02 9437 6552
  • Victoria … 03 9280 8712
  • Tasmania … 1800 991 997
  • Queensland … 07 3833 4352
  • WA … 08 9321 3098
  • SA and NT … 08 8366 0250

Medical benevolence funds

AMA Peer Support Line … 1300 853 338 or 1800 991 997

Hand-n-Hand Peer Support

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Please seek out help from one of the below contacts:

  • Lifeline| 13 11 14 | 24-hour Australian crisis counselling service
  • Suicide Call Back Service| 1300 659 467 | 24-hour Australian counselling service
  • Beyondblue| 1300 22 4636 | 24-hour phone support and online chat service and links to resources and apps

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