Article Title: For doctors with mental illness, ‘help me’ can be the hardest words

 

Article Summary

The article is about the rising cases of mental illness among doctors and the reasons why they tend to ignore their illness. The doctors may not seek treatment for their illness because of a personal stigma like fear of losing their jobs or fear of confidentiality of their reports. Doctors usually end up taking their own lives because people fail to see the patient behind the professional.

Even if some doctors try to seek a treatment, the doctors treating them may feel embarrassed and uncomfortable to see their colleagues in such conditions. So, doctors suffering from mental illness generally rely on corridor-talks or informal advice of friends, rather than official appointments that might risk the humiliation of taking on the role of the patient. The author on his part has been running a service for doctors with mental illness: the Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), since the last decade. Thousands of doctors have contacted PHP, suffering mostly from depression, anxiety, and symptoms suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many have also spoken about the stigma associated with it.

Many influential people have taken steps to eradicate the problem of mental illness, but, the taboo of doctors suffering from mental illness still remains. We must allow doctors to become patients without the fear of sanctions or blame, and afford them the same compassion as they are expected to give to their own patients.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Taboo – a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing

Paradox – a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true

Psychotic – a person suffering from a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality

Postnatal depression – depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue

Torment – severe physical or mental suffering

Stoic – a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining

Confidentiality – the state of keeping or being kept secret or private

Bipolar disorder – a mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation and depression

Quasi-divine – considered to have some attributes of a god


 

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