New book - Why Physicians die by Suicide by Dr Michael Myers

Doctors' Support Network 2017 Dr Michael Myers mental health
Dr Michael Myers is a psychiatrist specialising in physician health from the U.S.  His most recent book has just been published Why Physicians die by Suicide.  He has kindly provided an extract from the introduction below: 

'……. as a practicing clinician treating physicians and their families and as an academician, I have spent my entire career studying the tragedy and enigma of suicide among doctors. Despite substantial research into the personal and workplace stressors, personality traits, psychological vulnerabilities, and psychiatric illnesses among doctors, the published literature is short on information gleaned from those who know physicians best – their family members, medical colleagues, and intimate friends, their teachers and students, as well as those who have lost their physicians to suicide. I have long believed that these are exactly the people who hold information that is key to our quest to make sense of why some doctors make such a desperate decision about their life.
For more than two years I have been talking with those who are willing to share their story and understanding of the physician loved one, colleague/friend, or treating doctor whom they’ve lost. In the pages that follow, you will hear their voices, and I will share what I have learned from them, as well as from another, equally significant population--physicians (including some of my own patients) who have attempted suicide and did not die. They are able to provide unique and invaluable information about the ideas and emotions that led to their decision to kill themselves as well as the ways in which their near-death experience and second chance at living have fundamentally changed them.  

Although suicide has been with us since the beginning of time, it remains a very taboo subject in our society. Many people do not want to know about it and when they do they want to push it way, to forget about it, trying hard not to remember. I am only too aware of this. I sense it when I face the resistance to my research or the derision I get from a few of my colleagues about “being obsessed with suicide”. We write about very different subjects but I feel great kinship with the late Elie Wiesel. In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, he said, “…I have tried to keep memory alive…I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because, if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.”

As painful as suicide is, we must remember our brothers and sisters in medicine who could not go on, whose lives were so tragically interrupted. Many of the people with whom I spoke in preparation for writing this book have told me that they were sharing their stories because they didn’t want their loved one to have died in vain, and they hoped what they had to say would in some way contribute to saving the life of another despairing physician. 

In the words of Dr. Edwin Shneidman who was a Professor of Psychology at UCLA, esteemed researcher, prolific author and giant in the study of suicide: “Postvention is prevention for the next generation.”

Click on the link on the right to purchase Dr Myers' book.  A small percentage of the purchase price will go to DSN at no extra cost to you. 

UK Physician Health Summit

Doctors' Support Network 2017 Jenny Holmes mental health
29th March 2017
I attended the UK Physician Health Summit today on behalf of DSN
Talks and workshops included mindfulness, regulator issues and how best to support international medical graduates.  
Click here to see abstracts and presentations from the event.
The first six weeks of the GP Health Service (GPH) have been busy but systems are working.  Clinicians are very positive about the consultations and multi disciplinary team support available from the head office team.  Further clinicians and therapists are being recruited.  Everyone feels that GPH is a hugely important step on the road to ensuring that doctors get high quality bespoke services to get them well and keep them well and on track in their careers.  The hope is that this service can be extended to all doctors and healthcare professionals in due course.

Dr Jenny Holmes
DSN committee

'Rounds' by Resuscitate Theatre

Doctors' Support Network 2017 Resuscitate Theatre Rounds mental health
24th March 2017
Resuscitate Theatre recently presented its second run of a one act play called 'Rounds' based on the, often stressful, experiences of junior doctors.  Resuscitate has kindly distributed DSN leaflets for us during a previous run of the play and we were delighted to take part in a post-show Q & A on this occasion.  The play was disconcertingly realistic and did not shy away from the necessarily uncomfortable issues involved while incorporating many moments of humour!

Doctors' Support Network talk for the Oxford Medical Students' Society

Doctors' Support Network 2017 Oxford Med Students Society logo mental health
DSN was invited by the Oxford University Medical Students' Society to a welfare symposium held on the 9th of February 2017 at the University of Oxford. Our attendance was well received with feedback indicating a need for a greater interface between medical students in need of support and the DSN.  Attendees found it beneficial to learn how mental illness can be successfully managed in parallel with a successful clinical career. 
Feedback from the society :

'The students who did attend seemed to find your talk very useful.  We thought that the content of your talk was informative and it was delivered in an approachable way, that made it easy to receive.  You helped us to challenge our own views of mental illness, and offered reassuring information regarding how they can be successfully managed in parallel with practicing medicine.  We will most definitely be recommending you and the DSN to the committee following us next year. 
'We students have the privilege of receiving education from inspirational clinicians and academics who are fantastic teachers.  However, we are often most receptive of peer advice and mentoring, especially when it comes to issues of welfare.'

DSN aims to build its student resources over the coming year and develop a stronger connection with medical students in the UK.  If or you would like the DSN to attend your medical school please get in touch.

Mahomed Saleh
Membership Secretary

Doctors' SUpport Network 2017 &me logo mental health

Doctors' Support Network & the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Mind Matter Initiative's 
&me Anti Stigma Campaign launched at House of Commons 

Doctors' SUpport Network 2017 &me launch Kevan Jones David Bartram mental health
Kevan Jones MP (left) talking to vet & RCVS Council member David Bartram

GP Health opening on Monday 30th January 2017

The new NHS GP Health Service is a free, confidential NHS service for GPs and GP trainees in England.  It can help with issues relating to a mental health concern, including stress or depression, or an addiction problem, in particular where these might affect work.

The self-referral service is provided by health professionals specialising in mental health support to doctors and is available in various locations across England.

Contact the new service via its website , email or phone 0300 0303 300. 
The service is available 08.00 – 20.00 Monday to Friday and 08.00 – 14.00 Saturday.

DSN will be presenting at WPA XVII World Congress of Psychiatry 2017!

DSN will be presenting a symposium on the role of peer groups in doctors' health, 'Invisible patients: doctors with mental health problems' at the WPA XVII World Congress of Psychiatry 2017 in Berlin!  This is in collaboration with a German doctors' group Selbst betroffene Profis (Self affected Professionals).  

Northern Centre for Mood Disorders 'Bipolar Disorder - an Update'

NCMD  'Bipolar Disorder - an Update', this free event took place on Wednesday 14th September 2016 at Newcastle University.  Click on the link to the meeting to read the report about the talks and discussion.

The photo on the right shows Dr Hamish McAllister-Williams, the academic lead for NCMD at their recent event on exercise and mental health. 
Doctors Support Network Hamish McAllister-Williams mental health

Mindful Medics

July 2016
Dr Reena Kotecha of Mindful Medics says 'Healthcare professionals are well accustomed to giving care often at the expense of their own health and personal life. We work long and odd hours often under unrelenting pressure. It can be difficult to strike a work life balance in this current climate.'

 Having experienced the positive mental and physical effects of yogic breathing and mindfulness meditation first hand, Dr Kotecha has developed ‘Mindful Medics’; a programme for all healthcare professionals.

The Practitioner Health Programme in collaboration with Mindful Medics is now offering drop in sessions every Saturday morning (fee payable). These sessions are open to anyone working in a healthcare environment.

To register for the sessions : click on the button on the right.

Louise Tebboth Foundation launched

DSN is pleased to form a link with the newly established  Louise Tebboth Foundation - in memory of Louise Marson (nee Tebboth), a Bermondsey GP who took her life in January 2015. 

The Foundation aims to provide financial assistance to projects and services which support the mental well-being of doctors in England and Wales and initiatives assisting the bereaved families of doctors who have died by suicide.
Louise's husband, Gary has written a book on his experiences - see the link on the right.  DSN will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase using the link.

DocHealth service launched

June 2016
DocHealth, a new psychotherapeutic service for doctors supported by the British Medical Association and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund has recently opened in London.  The service is to be run on a not-for -profit basis with fees varying depending on the grade and circumstances of the doctor.  The experienced clinicians are ex MedNet (a London psychotherapy service for doctors) and include eminent names in doctors' health in the UK, Dr Tony Garelick, Dr Julia Bland and Dr Matthias von der Tann.  Self-referring doctors can access up to six face to face sessions with the service  and further care can be advised.

New DSN Facebook page and Twitter account

13th May 2016
DSN now has a new Facebook page as well as its long established Facebook group.  

And we have also joined Twitter @DocSupportNet  (you don' t have to join Twitter to read posts.)

Click on the logos on the right to go to the relevant pages.

Northern Centre for Mood Disorders 'physical activity and mood' public event

The Northern Centre for Mood Disorders hosted a free public engagement event on Wednesday 18th May 2016 at Newcastle University about physical activity and mood.  

NCMD is also starting a new charity called 'Out of the blues' with a fundraising campaign kick started by a relay race on Hadrian's Wall.  Details in the link below :

UK Association for Physician Health meeting

Doctors' Support Network 2016 Prof Louis Appleby at UKAPH mental health
10th May 2016
DSN attended the UK Association for Physician Health meeting at BMA House.  The day centred on the current review of the GMC Fitness to Practice process led by Prof Louis Appleby - pictured on the left (with Kirsten Leslie from occupational health in Cornwall. )   

Further details about this event on the Archive DSN events page.

Why doctors' mental health should be a concern for us all

11th April 2016
An article in the New Statesman on doctors' mental health and disclosure about the work of Dr Debbie Cohen's team in Cardiff.
Click HERE for a link to the article.

GMC - Putting mental health safety at the heart of the fitness to practise process

7th April 2016
Professor Louis Appleby is currently leading a review of the GMC's fitness to practise process. DSN was represented by vice chair Dr Louise Freeman at the recent stakeholder consultation into the process.
Click HERE for a link to Prof. Appleby's recent article on this topic in the GMC News. 

BMJ Careers article - Doctors' own mental health issues

16th March 2016
You may have missed a recent BMJ Careers article by journalist Kathy Oxtoby about doctors' mental health.
Click HERE for a link to the article.

Antidepressants and psychotherapy : poles apart or two sides of the same coin

17th February 2016
​The newly established Northern Centre for Mood Disorders based in Newcastle upon Tyne recently held its second public engagement event on antidepressants and psychotherapy.  
Click HERE to read a description of the event with links to speakers' slides.

Our patron Dr Phil Hammond speaks out about suicide

Doctors' Support Network 2016 Dr Phil Hammond mental health
15th February 2016
​DSN's patron Dr Phil Hammond published a moving article on the BBC website about his own father's suicide click HERE to read the article. This was part of the BBC's recent 'In the Mind' season.

Mental Health Day Newcastle upon Tyne

Doctors' Support Network 2016 DSN at Mental Health Day
6th February 2016
A service user run event where over sixty user groups worked together to create an outdoor event where members of the public were encouraged to stop and have a chat. DSN shared a stand and members talked to interested passers -by.

DSN vice chair quoted in the Chronicle 
Dr Louise Freeman, vice-chairman of the Doctors’ Support Network, a peer support group for medics with mental health problems, said people had shown a lot of interest in their work, especially medical students.She added: “Quite a lot of people have been surprised that our group exists. There’s a body of opinion, even within the medical profession, that doctors don’t get mental health problems. That is not actually true. Doctors are not some kind of super race. Doctors and their colleagues forget that they are human beings and that they can suffer from serious mental health problems.Our group provides support to those who need our help.”
Click HERE for link to full article.
If you know of a forthcoming doctors' health related event, please let us know via the 'Contact DSN' form and we can add it to News.
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