AMA works to prevent doctor suicide

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 3, 2006

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The American Medical Association will collaborate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Federation of State Physician Health Programs to study suicide among physicians and develop educational programs that focus on this issue, according to policy adopted at the AMA's Annual Meeting in Chicago last month.

Physicians have one of the highest suicide rates of any occupation, and the hope is that increasing awareness of this problem through programs run by medical schools, state physician health committees and the AMA Alliance will reduce doctors' risk.

In addition, the AMA will contact the directors of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the American Psychiatric Assn. to explore ways to reduce the overall prevalence of suicide.

"People don't think that physicians would be afflicted by this, that physicians would be above this, and it's not true," said Michael Simon, MD, a delegate and anesthesiologist from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., who proposed this policy because a relative, who also was a physician, committed suicide.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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