UMMS Affiliation

Neurology Department

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Article Postprint


Health and Medical Administration | Health Psychology | Infectious Disease | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Virus Diseases


INTRODUCTION: Suicide in physicians outlines a public health problem that deserves more consideration. A recently performed meta-analysis and systematic review evaluated suicide mortality in physicians by gender and investigated several related risk factors. It showed a post-1980 suicide mortality ratio 46% higher in female physicians than women in the general population and a 33% lower risk in male physicians than men in general, despite an overall contraction in physicians' mortality rates in both genders.

METHODS: This narrative review was conducted through a search and analysis of relevant articles/databases to address questions raised by the meta-analysis, and how they may be affected by COVID-19. The process included unstructured searches on physician suicide, burnout, medicine judicialization, healthcare organization and COVID-19 on Pubmed, and Google searches for relevant databases, medical society, expert and media commentaries on these topics. We focus on three factors critical to address physician suicides: epidemiological data limitations, psychiatric comorbidities, and professional overload.

RESULTS: We found relevant articles on suicide reporting, physician mental health, effects of healthcare judicialization and organization on physician and patient health, and how COVID-19 may impact such factors. This review addresses information sources, underreporting/misreporting of physicians' suicide rates, inadequate diagnosis and management of psychiatric comorbidities and chronic effects on physicians' work capacity, and finally, medicine judicialization and organization failure increasing physician "burnout". We discuss these factors in general and in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONCLUSIONS: We describe an overview of the above factors, discuss possible solutions, and specifically address how COVID-19 may impact such factors.


COVID-19, burnout, depression, healthcare organization, medicine judicialization, physician suicide

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DOI of Published Version



Duarte D, El-Hagrassy MM, Couto T, Gurgel W, Minuzzi L, Saperson K, Corrêa H. Challenges and Potential Solutions for Physician's Suicide risk factors in the COVID-19 Era: Psychiatric Comorbidities, Medicine Judicialization, and Burnout. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2021 Aug 16. doi: 10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0293. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34788525. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Trends in psychiatry and psychotherapy

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.