About 6% of surgeons reported having suicidal thoughts in the last year, but many are reluctant to seek help because they feared it would affect their medical license, according to a new study in the Archives of Surgery.
The study, based on an anonymous survey of nearly 8,000 surgeons, found suicidal thoughts were tied to doctors' worries about making an error, a history of depression and burnout on the job.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that of the 6% who reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous year, 26% sought help. Concerns about the effect on a license is real; 80% of state medical boards ask about prior mental illness and 47% ask about it during application renewal, the study said.
Older surgeons were more likely to contemplate suicide -- those 45 and older had one and a half to three times the rate as the general population. Being married and having kids were associated with lower rates, the study said.