Global action needed on suicide among health care workers, says Lancet editorial

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Experts say the rate of depressive disorders among health-care workers compared with the general population is “alarming”.

Global collaboration is needed to understand and tackle the deep-rooted underlying issues associated with mental ill health in the medical profession.

That is according to a new editorial published in The Lancet , which is highlighting fresh efforts in the USA to address the high suicide rate among doctors there. In the region of 400 doctors die by suicide in the US each year. Its National Academy of Medicine is collaborating with more than 20 professional and educational organisations to promote wellbeing and resilience among doctors. The platform, which is due to begin work this month, aims to assess and understand the underlying causes of clinician burnout and suicide and advance solutions that can reverse the current trends.

The Lancet editorial suggests lessons can be learned from this initiative, not just in the US but globally. “Now is not the time to become complacent or to let the health of medical workers slip down the political agenda, but to start 2017 by following a lead taken by the National Academy of Medicine: to ensure that the health and resilience of our medical workforce are the highest priorities in every country,” it states.

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