The lifetime prevalence of suicide ideation (SI) is 17.4 percent among physicians, while lifetime prevalence of suicide attempt (SA) is 1.8 percent, a review published online in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviour has revealed.

Min Dong, M.D., from Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues examined the prevalence of suicide-related behaviour among physicians and its associated factors in a meta-analysis. Data were included from 35 eligible studies with 70,368 physicians.

The researchers found that the lifetime prevalence of SI was 17.4 percent, while one-year, six-month, and one-month prevalence rates were 8.6, 11.9, and 8.6 percent, respectively. The lifetime prevalence of SA was 1.8 percent, with a one-year prevalence of 0.3 percent. Geographic region was significantly associated with lifetime and one-year SI prevalence in subgroup analyses, while there was a significant association noted for sample size and one-month SI prevalence.

“Appropriate preventive and treatment measures,” the authors advised, “should be implemented to reduce the risk of suicide-related behaviours in this population. Effective suicide preventive programs to reduce the psychological distress, sleeping disturbances, and work harassment faced by physicians should be provided, such as hotline services, self-care workshops, and web-based cognitive behavioural therapy.

“In addition, regular screening of suicide-related behaviours could be useful to encourage early referral to mental health services if necessary.”


REFERENCE: Dong et al: Prevalence of suicide‐related behaviors among physicians: A systematic review and meta‐analysis;