Physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession and more than twice that of the general population. It's estimated that one million Americans lose their physician to suicide each year.

Why? Because there’s stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help. The majority of medical systems lack support for physicians coping with stress and traumatic events. Administrative and regulatory burdens take away from the joy of practicing medicine.

We can all help prevent physician suicide.

Prevention begins with understanding the warning signs to look for in someone who may be suicidal. With the HEART acronym, we hope to help you easily remember these signs.

Vital Sign 1

Health

  • Increasing the use of medications and/or alcohol or illicit drugs
  • Talking about wanting to hurt themselves or die

Vital Sign 2

Emotions

  • Experiencing extreme mood swings
  • Feeling hopeless or having no purpose

Vital Sign 3

Attitude

  • Being negative about professional and personal life
  • Having inappropriate outbursts of anger or sadness

Vital Sign 4

Relationships

  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves from family, friends and coworkers
  • Talking about being a burden to others

Vital Sign 5

Temperament

  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Being uncomfortable, tired or in unbearable pain