Also--he said you should describe your observations of change in his/her behavior, appearance or mood. Be tentative and open minded. Be kind and non-judgmental. The goal is to start a dialogue. If you get denial, rationalization or an attack, do not take it personally. Offer to help or refer for help. Offer to make the phone calls yourself. If the person declines, give names of resources but do check back in a day or two.
See Dr Wible's comment below re spending ++++ time on the phone with a suicidal doc. You can save a life!
Abigail - yes yes yes, and the down side is that when or if your loved one is ailing, you don't want to know. There are huge family pressures in some cultures for the son or daughter to be a doctor and nothing else is acceptable. Tough for the kid.
Check out the APA's suicide page, which contains a wealth of information on suicide and resources for suicide prevention.
Neil - you're correct. Too often docs fear a loss of confidentiality if they call their state physician health program. But I agree, we all need to reach out to each other more.
Bret - good reminder - sorry can't update you on that -
The National Suicide Prevention hotline is open! 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Nancy Morton - yes - and also local crisis lines are important too because the person can call in anonymously and speak candidly. I always tell docs if they have an unusual first name and they're afraid of being identified, just lie and say your first name is Bob or Mary
Robert Miday - ok - sounds like a good topic for the annual meeting of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs. They must be up to date, compassionate and not regulatory!
Burt - a salute to you - great information!
We are about to wrap up our chat on this very important topic. Clearly - there is a lot to discuss. Does anyone have any last comments?
I'm encouraged by all of the fine comments and interest. We need to follow up again in a short while with Part 2. Thanks to all!!
Thank you for participating! So informative, Dr. Myers!
Lots of work going on with LBBTQ students. I agree . VEry impor;tant
Thank you Dr. Myers, Medscape, and all who participated for this lively and very informative discussion!