The Indian Journal of Psychiatry concluded in a study that 30% Indian doctors suffer depression, while 17% have experienced thoughts about ending their life. Almost 80% of doctors especially at the earlier stages of their academics and career face the risk of burnout.
Doctors and medical students often feel isolated and find it difficult to seek help. They also face the fear that seeking professional mental health help might affect their prospects as a doctor. Therefore, to suppress the feelings, sometimes they fall prey to self-destructive behaviours.
Several stressors such as extended working hours, verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse at the hands of patients, frequent negative patient-related outcomes and stressful interpersonal interactions among colleagues cause or contribute to this. Several studies have suggested that doctors routinely experience work-related anxiety and then often succumb to alcohol abuse, turn dependent on antidepressants and smoking and so on.
In general, doctors are trained early in their training to mask their pain, to maintain a stoic stance about illness and this perpetuates the denial of their own health vulnerabilities. Mental health issues must not go undiagnosed among medical students and doctors. It must be facilitated that they seek help without fear of sanctions or blame, and unlearn the shame and stigma related to this. Else in coming years we will see more 30% Indian doctors suffer depression which will create more issues in entire healthcare delivery system of the country.