LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Front line doctors from Loma Linda Medical Center and mental health advocates will gather outside City Hall to describe why doctor suicides are on the rise and outline steps hospitals and healthcare networks can take to prevent the tragic deaths.
The announcement comes on the eve of Mental Health Awareness Month and is designed to thwart the growing number of doctor suicides that are double the national average.
“We are talking about tragic deaths that can be prevented,” said Dr. Jessica Muñoz, an emergency medicine resident physician at Loma Linda. “Doctors like me, women and minorities, are most at risk because we face the greatest pressure to perform in large healthcare systems. We are trying to change that by unionizing our physicians and demanding a voice.”
The number of reported suicides among doctors is growing and the rate among female doctors is climbing fast. According to mental health advocates, popular residency programs—such as those at hospitals and healthcare networks across Los Angeles and Southern California—are especially vulnerable.
An estimated 300 doctors across the nation took their own lives last year, and hundreds more considered it or attempted it. Among the top reasons is overworked staff who have little opportunity to access mental health services or their employers do not take their mental healthcare needs seriously.
Dr. Gabriella Odudu, a second-year pediatric resident at Loma Linda, said the hospital does not act on feedback from front line doctors regarding burnout or poor working conditions.
“Loma Linda has not felt compelled to carry out its mission with regard to us,” she said. “We are all under intense pressure at this institution, which has had an unfortunate and dark history of physician suicide. We cannot afford another tragedy.”
Dr. Stuart Bussey, President of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, said doctor suicides are preventable but hospitals and healthcare networks must take the problem seriously. No healthcare network or hospital is immune from the problem.
“Mental healthcare is a serious risk among our front line doctors. We have to bring it out into the open and get rid of mental health stigma.”
About the Union of American Physicians & Dentists
The Union of American Physicians & Dentists (UAPD) has organized physicians and providers since 1972. With more than 5,000 members in California, New Mexico, and Washington State, UAPD is the largest union of licensed physicians and advanced practice clinicians nationwide. Members work for state and county governments, large healthcare organizations and nonprofit health systems, as well as providers in private practice. Affiliated with AFSCME and AFL-CIO, UAPD brings the strength of the labor movement to the aid of providers in the interest of better medicine for all. Learn more at www.uapd.com.
Union of American Physicians & Dentists
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SOURCE Union of American Physicians and Dentists