Suicide in Anesthesiologists

Light is shed upon this once taboo subject in this Association of Anaesthetists survey. The entire spectrum of stress, depression, burnout, sleep deprivation, etc. is now a pressing issue in healthcare professionals. Anesthesiologists have ready access to potent medications, posing addiction risks as well as intentional or accidental fatal overdose.

This survey looked at experiences of colleague suicide as well as the support schemes in place, and awareness of same.

Most respondents were unaware of the existence of policies/guidance on mental illness, addiction or suicide, or of welfare leads. Deficiencies were noted in the support available and in the way the deaths were handled.

The authors summarize their paper: “emphasizes the need for continued work in promoting discussion, awareness and support of mental health issues, including work‐related stress and alcohol/drug misuse, throughout healthcare systems and anaesthetic departments. We hope that the Association of Anaesthetists guidance, currently in preparation, will provide a useful resource for individuals and departments in this area.”

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