Youth Suicide: The Impact on Health-Care Providers
Pediatricians and other primary care providers work diligently to care for youth. However, providers can sometimes forget to care for themselves, especially when facing difficult topics such as youth suicide.
Read on for guidance about ways to prioritize your own well-being to help you continue offering hope and support to others.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK), or dial 211 and press 8.
The COVID-19 pandemic—which has caused illness and death, job losses, school closures and social isolation—may result in increased mental health consequences for many people, both young and old, according to two Viewpoint articles published in JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Psychiatry (2020). Now more than ever, health-care providers must take care of their emotional well-being in order to help others.
Why It Matters
Researchers continue to find that “in the service of others, physicians often forget to care for themselves” (Kalmoe, Chapman, Gold, & Giedinghagen, 2019). “Yet, physicians are human, too, and need care like anyone else.” As a primary care provider, you, like Dr. Rosa Lambert in this case study, likely will encounter the difficult reality of youth suicides. It will not be your fault. Taking steps for your own self-care will allow you to continue providing health care and support for young patients facing emotional challenges who need you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2019). NCHS Data Brief No. 352: Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017.
Galea, S., Merchant, R. M., & Lurie, N. (2020). The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing: The Need for Prevention and Early Intervention. JAMA Internal Medicine, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1562.
Kalmoe, M. C., Chapman, M., Gold, J. A., & Giedinghagen, A. M. (2019). Physician Suicide: A Call to Action. Missouri Medicine, 116 (3), 211-216.
Reger, M. A., Stanley, I. H., & Joiner, T. E. (2020). Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019—A Perfect Storm? JAMA Psychiatry, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1060.