Mental health issues are something I’m passionate about and have a lot of experience with, both professionally and personally. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years is how complicated and broken our mental health system is. When one or even multiple parts aren’t functioning at their highest level, we end up with a fractured system and patients falling through the cracks. One chasm in our mental health care ...

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A reader I respect asked me for my thoughts on trigger warnings. Per Wikipedia, trigger warnings are “warnings that the ensuing content contains strong writing or images which could unsettle those with mental health difficulties.” Let’s put aside the last part of that definition, “those with mental health difficulties”, as some articles suggest that trigger warnings are not limited to those with mental health difficulties. Part of ...

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Now that I’m getting ready to turn 70, I thought I’d summarize what I’ve learned since I finished my residency, when I was 28. Of course, I didn’t learn all this only by being a psychiatrist, since I would hope that most folks have also learned lots in the last 41 years. 1. Psychotherapy is important, particularly if the patient is on the right medication. I won’t do “med checks,” since I ...

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Waqas Khan is the brainchild behind Healthcare Not Fair.  Click his video above to see why we are driving doctors to suicide then join the lively discussion on Facebook.

Almost every day over the last few years, someone has written about physician burnout or depression. The problems begin in medical school. A recent paper featured drawings that medical students had done depicting faculty as monsters. One student felt so intimidated during a teaching session that she drew a picture of her urinating herself. peeing The paper equated faculty and residents supervising students ...

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I settle into the bent-wicker chair on my lanai and try to relax. It’s a perfect island day, the temperature warm, the breeze cool, and I gaze out over the pool to the tops of the coastal mangroves. I’ve just come home from a shift at the local free clinic, and my mind is occupied by the work we did today.  My fourth-year medical students encountered some difficult patients, and ...

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I was 13 years old when I first had thoughts related to suicide. While my thoughts never really included calculated ways of ending my life, I remember such a profoundly overwhelming desire to be anesthetized to all of my emotions and worries. In the medical field, that kind of thinking is classified under the label of “suicidal ideation,” which is often accompanied by other diagnoses of mental illness. I have ...

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I recall during my freshman year in medical school, sitting in class and listening to what were supposed to be 50-minute lectures from people who'd been teaching the same course for years. These were highly educated and intelligent folks; they knew how much material they could cover in 50 minutes. Yet, they frequently went past their time; encroaching on what was for some a badly needed bathroom break, and for ...

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DearPamela-900x607 Hi Pamela, I’m a medical student in the UK. Though I’ve only been in med school since September, it has already taken its toll on me. Before I started, I was so in touch with my emotions, spirituality, and nature. Now I feel so empty and desensitized. I hate that when faced with the horrible circumstances of another person, I just don’t feel ...

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It is exactly 49 steps from my bedroom to my garage.  It is a 23-mile drive to the hospital and 75 steps to the unit.  It takes 10 seconds to walk to the nursing station.  I can measure what it takes to get me to work each morning with absolute certainty.  I know because I have measured it a million times hoping something will prevent me from reaching my destination.  ...

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