Mental health is one of the main pending tasks, also among health professionals. Economic conditions, job instability, shifts and the pandemic have reduced mental stability of doctorsnurses and other members of the health sector.
Sometimes mental problems weigh so much that suicidal thoughts or behavior appear. The suicide rate among doctors is 1.3%, higher than the general population at 0.8%. Gustavo Chavez is one of those doctors who attempted suicide, an act that caused him to leave his work in medicine. “I am now devoting myself solely to teaching,” he explains in statements to Medical writing.
He confirms that he has no intention of returning to counseling: “I don’t feel like playing sports.” The doctor states that he feels a sense of “disappointment and anger at having to face again and again an alliance that says if you can’t go a whole day without sleep, you’re not actually a doctor and you have no vocation. All of this echoes to the point where I myself tried against my life.”
“I feel disappointed to face a guild that says if you can’t go a whole day without sleep, then you don’t have a calling”
Stigma and taboos prevented Chávez from thinking that he had any psychological problem. “You feel incapable of feeling bad. You doubt a lot when you think if you can really be a good doctor. If you don’t have a good grade or didn’t perform as well as you would have liked in the internship … you feel guilty for not being better and don’t think that maybe you feel bad for psychological topic“, he describes.
This taboo on mental illness, which seems even more acute in the health sector, helps (according to the doctor’s testimony) “raise doubts about whether you really have a mental problem or are exaggerating”. He explains that it is common to “feel this you can’t lead your life rightyour relationships, family, work…”.
Covid has changed the lives of doctors
The arrival of Covid-19 and pandemic management This is one of the problems that weigh more heavily in frontline toilets. “It changed everyone’s life, it meant asking ourselves what we were doing and why,” the doctor told this newspaper, regretting that people forget that behind the doctor’s coat there is ” a suffering human beingis hungry, thirsty, sleepy… and all these can affect”. The call to serve others also takes its toll. “You are focused on other people or the environment that surrounds you and forget about yourself”, Explain .
The psychological help, it would certainly be useful in a time when “seeing and being close to death is not easy”. First of all, because according to this doctor: “You have no one to talk to. You do not want to affect your acquaintances or close relatives by talking about diagnoses, diseases and treatments. The only line of communication is usually your colleagues, and they’re in the same world as you… There’s no outlet or moment to know if you’re really absorbing everything properly.”
“Seeing and being close to death is not easy and there is no one to talk to about it. There is no relief or moment to assimilate it all”
In order to break the taboo and help other doctors who find themselves in the same situation that he went through, Chavez believes that what is needed is “to leave behind old ways. Life around us has changed because of everything that has happened in recent years. We can’t and shouldn’t keep repeating patterns.” According to him, we need to change the way medicine is practiced: “We’ve been taught how we should treat certain patients, how we should feel about ourselves. enjoying what you’re doing, not just following a pattern.”
Doctors also commit suicide
The case of this doctor is not isolated, so psychologists warn how important it is to talk about it. “It has to be said that doctors and other health professionals are also suicidal and also have major depressive disorders,” one recently explained clinical psychologist to this newspaper. “I visit a lot healthcare workers with suicidal behavior and more recently. Some have had one or more experiences that didn’t go well and they go to the clinic to teach them how to live,” he said.
His testimony matches the situation described by this doctor who came to take his own life. “The work situation that health workers face, such as lack of permanent work or too much responsibility, as well as any other factor that makes life difficult, weakens us and adds weight to the inconveniences of life,” he assured, before saying: “Receiving being a doctor is not easy. After all the effort for years you end up with something you don’t like and you lose the vocation or the taste for what you do.”
Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader consult a health professional for all health-related questions.