Intended for healthcare professionals


Suicidal thoughts and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 16 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2710

Doctors generally live longer than most people, unless they kill themselves first. In a Swedish academic hospital, about a third of the medical staff had had suicidal thoughts in the preceding year (BMC Public Health 2014;14:271, doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-271). The differences between junior and senior doctors were not always as expected. Harassment was a trigger for suicidal thoughts in seniors but not in juniors. Spending more than half the week doing research increased feelings of harassment. In both groups “presenteeism” during illness increased the risk. Juniors felt no benefit from meetings to discuss difficult experiences, but they did respond to empowering leadership.

To Minerva, this Swedish study suggests that no single strategy has been identified that can reduce suicidal thoughts in all contexts. But this is not for lack of trying. A useful survey of all randomised controlled trials of psychosocial interventions for suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts has just appeared in BMC Psychiatry (2014;14:86, doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-86). The researchers found 131 randomised …

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