Objective: The authors replicated a program developed by UC San Diego, identified medical staff at risk for depression and suicide using a confidential online survey, and studied aspects of that program for 1 year.
Methods: The authors used a 35-item, online assessment of stress and depression depression developed and licensed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that aims to identify and suicide risk and facilitate access to mental health services.
Results: During 2013/2014, all 1864 UC Davis residents/fellows and faculty physicians received an invitation to take the survey and 158 responded (8% response rate). Most respondents were classified at either moderate (86 [59%]) or high risk for depression or suicide (54 [37%]). Seventeen individuals (11%) were referred for further evaluation or mental health treatment. Ten respondents consented to participate in the follow-up portion of the program. Five of the six who completed follow-up surveys reported symptom improvement and indicated the program should continue.
Conclusions: This program has led to continued funding and a plan to repeat the Wellness Survey annually. Medical staff will be regularly reminded of its existence through educational interventions, as the institutional and professional culture gradually changes to promptly recognize and seek help for physicians' psychological distress.
Keywords: Emotional problems/support; Physician well-being; Suicide.