Med school lends an ear to those at risk of suicide

Educating patients, identifying those at high risk for disease and taking preventive action are key parts of physician practice. Those methods also are proving essential to one medical school ’s efforts to spot depression and thwart suicide. The University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine’sHealer Education Assessment and Referral (HEAR) program helps spot people at risk of suicide and depression through self-assessment and offers access to counseling for UCSD medical students, residents, fellows and faculty. Sobering statistics tell the tale of why such an effort is needed, as thesuicide rate among physicians greatly exceeds that of the general public. Yet worries about stigma and career impact discourage use of essential mental health services among physicians and doctors in training. UCSD ’s HEAR program combines a variety of approaches aimed at lowering the risk of suicide among faculty, residents, fellows and medical students.Listening for signs of depression, risk of suicide A key component of the program is a web-based screening tool, developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). UCSD medical students, residents, fellows and faculty members are encouraged to complete a brief —and completely confidential—online questionnaire to determine whether stress and depression is affecting them in their personal and professional lives. The screening tool includes the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire scale, which assesses d...
Source: AMA Wire - Category: Journals (General) Authors: Source Type: news
More News: General Medicine