Educators Managing Physician-Residents Struggling with Mental Health Concerns


Educators in the field of academic medicine are needing to equip themselves with the knowledge, skills and ability to manage physician-residents experiencing acute and long-term mental health concerns. The depression rate among medical residents is at 29%, while the rate among nonphysicians was 8%. Physicians die by suicide at twice the rate of the general population. In an October 2020 report, 87% of emergency physicians reported feeling more stressed due to COVID-19, but 45% said they didn’t feel comfortable seeking treatment, even though they needed the help. Darrell Kirch, MD, President emeritus of the AAMC and co-chair of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, reported the stigma of physicians seeking mental health care can cost them their lives, but sharing their personal struggles can help save them.

At our institution, these are not just statistics. In 2016, we sadly experienced one of our own physician-residents who committed suicide. This reality exposed us to the severity of mental health crises being experienced silently by some of our trainees. Over the next several years, we designed a process which includes the creation of developmental learning plans, early assessment mentoring and longitudinal coaching for our 350+ physician-residents. In our presentation, we will share our struggles, successes and suggestions for educators faced with managing learners with mental health concerns.

Author Information
Agatha Parks-Savage, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
LaConda Fanning, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
Cory Gerwe, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States
Heather Newton, Eastern Virginia Medical School, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2024
Stream: Mental Health

The full paper is not available for this title

Virtual Presentation

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon