RITU THAMMAN, MD, FASE,
University of Pittsburgh School
MELISSA MILLER, MS, MBA,
Director of Clinical Care
CHRISTOPHER WORSHAM, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
CX Strategy Innovation
Dr. Ritu Thamman The
• HCPs have faced increasing
challenges during the pandemic,
which adds to the feeling of burnout.
COVID-19 has caused a shortage in
HCPs and an increase in number in
patients, exacerbating the mental
health issues these physicians face.
64% of U.S. HCPs have reported
burnout during the pandemic.
• HCPs are also twice as likely to
attempt suicide than the general
population, with 20% of workers
knowing physicians who considered,
attempted, or died by suicide during
COVID-19. With the stress and mental
health issues these physicians face,
one might think they would seek help,
but they usually don’t.
NUMBERS More than
Physician suicide rate
60 countries vs. the U.S.
who reported burnout
during training vs.
Of U.S. physicians with
mental health symptoms
Know a physician who
or died by suicide
shortage within 12
1 American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2018. Abstract 1-227. Presented May 5, 2018.
2 Morgantini LA, Naha U, Wang H, et al. Factors contributing to healthcare professional burnout during the
COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid turnaround global survey. PLoS One 15, 9. (September 2020): e0238217.
3 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Facts about Mental Health and Suicide Among Physicians.”
4 Medscape US and international physicians’ COVID-19 experience report: Risk, burnout, loneliness.
5 The Physicians Foundation, 2021 Survey of America’s Physicians: COVID-19 Impact Edition.
6 Association of American Medical Colleges report, “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand:
Female Physician, participant in survey published in
General Hospital Psychiatry
I WOULD NEVER WANT TO HAVE
A MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS
ON MY RECORD
• HCPs fear the stigma associated with
mental health issues and feel there is no
safe space in their work environment to talk
about it. They fear being reported to medical
licensing boards due to the label of “mental
illness” being put on their permanent record.
This record follows them throughout their
career and can make it difficult and create
barriers within their fields.
• When HCPs do look for help, they can be
mandated to seek treatment in the health
setting of their peers, the exact people
they’d prefer not have knowledge of their
mental health issues. It’s also very difficult
for them to seek help elsewhere as it’s very
expensive compared to receiving help from
within their own health system.
BARRIERS TO CARE
Fear of stigma –
no safe space
Fear of losing
SUPPORT WE HAVE
SUPPORT WE NEED
Evidence-based training to address
burnout and feelings of suicide
Educational campaign to address
Better protections in licensing boards
Dr. Kristen M., Plastic
surgeon, Dallas area
THERE IS A
IS A WEAKNESS.
NEED TO BE
• The support that’s currently
available is not enough. We need to
address the causes and factors of
burnout and provide the assistance
needed to combat it. Helping modify
daily stressors can go a long way
for many HCPs. Simple efforts like:
o Sponsored programs geared
toward HCPs addressing work-
o Working with hospital
administrators to bring
resources (apps, guest
speakers, meditation rooms) to
HCPs in the workplace
o Positive, encouraging
messaging embedded in EHR
Mental Health Burden
They require care just
like the rest of us, and
they shouldn’t be
penalized for seeking it.
Better access to care
and support services
can have a
downstream effect in
helping prevent against
future medical provider