National Physician Suicide Awareness Day
September 17 is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day, which is a good time to join in the conversation of suicide and suicide prevention. As physicians, we are the healers. However, healers need their own healing at times. Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Tennessee, and an estimated 300-400 physicians in the U.S. die each year. When physicians’ mental health is not addressed, suicide risk increases, and this can lead to a tragedy that no one should have to face.
As physicians, we encourage our patients to get help and discuss the issues they are dealing with; however, we ourselves are unlikely to seek help if we are struggling mentally. In times where you may feel alone, there are many resources available. There are trained counselors available 24/7 that you can call at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or you can text TN to 741741 to connect with the Crisis Text Line.
If you are feeling burned out or like you are burning out, there are lots of ways to prevent this. There are some things you can focus on to prevent burnout:
- Focusing on Self-Care: Self-care should be a main priority when it comes to maintaining your mental health and preventing yourself from burnout. Self-Care includes but is not limited to exercise, sleep and eating habits.
- Discuss Your Feelings: Never be afraid to reach out to your co-workers, friends and family in times of distress because it is important to not isolate yourself.
- Don’t Overdo It: If you are feeling overwhelmed by your schedule, organize a meeting with your team to see if there are changes that can be made to lighten your load.
- Discover Meaning in the Work: It is hard to keep going if you can’t remember why you chose the path that you did. This alone could burnout anyone at any job. It is important to re-discover what being a physician means to you so that you are more satisfied and fulfilled by the work you do.
- Ask for Help: There are some things you just can’t handle alone, so there is no shame in reaching out to someone for help.
Suicide is something that we can prevent, which is why we all need to participate in this conversation.
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Welcome to the website for the Tennessee Psychiatric Association. The Tennessee Psychiatric Association was established in 1958 as a district branch of the American Psychiatric Association and is incorporated as a non-profit organization.
We are a statewide medical specialty organization with more than 300 board certified members who are dedicated to developing the highest quality of comprehensive psychiatric care for patients, families and communities.
Through advocacy, education and career development, the Tennessee Psychiatric Association works to protect both the profession and mental health patients throughout the state.
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Valerie Arnold, M.D., TPA President-elect; Altha Stewart, M.D., APA President-elect; James Greene, M.D. former TPA President; Jackie Cavnar, TPA Executive Director; and Rodney Poling, M.D., TPA President at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center 50th Annual Medicine Review Course and 11th Annual Family Medicine/Psychiatry CME conference in Memphis.
Dr.Vijaya Jaleel, IAPA-Tennessee President, and Carol Ackley, Volunteer Coordinator for Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association Tennessee Chapter in Nashville.
I hope this note finds everyone safe, warm and dry! As we all look forward to springtime in Tennessee, I would like to invite everyone to think about your participation in our organization. As you may know, the TPA is a District Branch of the APA. Through the TPA, we are able to access resources from the national organization with regard to lobbying efforts both in Nashville and Washington DC. Participation is quite rewarding and interesting, as I can attest, having been directly involved in the Executive Council for the past six years.
Our goal is to stimulate increased interest and participation in the organization. We have tried to have meetings across the state, but alas, attendance has been limited. We are always looking for our early career psychiatrist members to get involved. I know many early career psychiatrists are in employed positions or work in teaching institutions. It is easy to take for granted the rules and regulations governing our practice in such a situation. However, if you are not aware or involved in the premier organization to protect your rights and practice privileges, everything may change very quickly.
Therefore, I heartily invite any member who is interested to participate in our organization at an increased level. As my term ends in May, Dr. Valerie Arnold will assume the office of President, and Dr. George Mathews, I hope, will become President Elect. Dr. Dolores DiGaetano, again I assume, will continue as Treasurer. Dr. Arnold and Dr. Greg Kyser serve as our Assembly Representatives to the APA. We are looking for someone interested in becoming Secretary! Our custom has been to have the opportunity to move up each year in succession, to become President. We are also looking for a delegate to the Tennessee Medical Association. Please let me or Jackie know if you are interested. My time here has been professionally challenging but enjoyable at every step.
Please let me hear from you. I look forward to seeing many of you at the APA in May, during which we will celebrate Dr. Altha Stewart, member of the TPA, as new President of the APA. I also will remind you of our TPA meeting to be held in Nashville during the Southern Psychiatric Association Meeting in September.
With best regards,
Rodney A. Poling, MD DFAPA
Tennessee Psychiatric Association
Jackie Cavnar, Executive Director
446 Metroplex Drive, Suite A-224
Nashville, TN 37211