When I started as the Executive Director of the Allegheny County Medical Society in March of this year, I had a general awareness of the pressure, stress, and mental strain that was put on healthcare workers. But as I started to dig deeper and began speaking to ACMS members, I quickly learned much more about what their lives have looked like over the last few years. It was clear that there was a lot more going on behind the scenes than most could even imagine.
A recent survey of health care workers, conducted by the American Hospital Association, found that approximately half of respondents felt “burned out” and nearly a quarter of respondents said they anticipated leaving the health care field. In May of this year, the surgeon general issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the healthcare worker burnout crisis. There is a Projected Shortage of More than 3 million Essential Low-Wage Health Workers in the Next Five Years and a Projected Shortage of Nearly 140,000 Physicians by 2033. That is a staggering statistic.
For many healthcare workers, specifically physicians, the stress and anxiety, coupled with long days, endless paperwork, and a continued campaign of distrust of the medical profession is leading to a tremendous increase in physician mental health conditions. The pandemic has affected the mental health of health workers nationwide, with more than 50% of public health workers reporting symptoms of at least one mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, and increased levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We’re on the heels of Physician Suicide Awareness Day (September 17) and the mental health of our healthcare workers is a REALLY important conversation to be having right now.
On September 17, the Allegheny County Medical Society will be sharing some of the staggering and heartbreaking statistics around physician suicide and the stress medical professionals are facing. Physician suicide is a grim reality, but the ACMS is trying to do our part to be part of the solution. Throughout the month of September, the ACMS will be spotlighting discounts, services, and events that can help physicians cope and destress. Each day we will be sharing a new discount, service or event on our social media pages, all with the intention of providing ways for physicians to take time away from their work, spend time with their families, or just take a single day for some self-care. We’ve had many local Pittsburgh businesses step-up to offer some amazing giveaways, as well.
Our message to all healthcare workers is that, here at the ACMS, we see you, we appreciate you, and we THANK YOU for all that you have done and all that you continue to do. We hope you will take some time for yourself this month.
Be sure to follow our social media pages to catch all of the exciting partnerships, discounts, and giveaways for healthcare workers throughout the month of September:
If you, or someone you know, is in need of support or is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 988 which is a direct line to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Medical Society Foundation provides a resource called the Physicians’ Heath Program (PHP). The PHP provides support and advocacy to physicians and other eligible health care professionals struggling with a substance use disorder, mental illness or behavioral concerns that impact their ability to practice their chosen profession safely.