Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week of Action

Your Classroom, Institution, Community

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Wellness & Student Life (WSL) Action Committee is proud to bring to you Suicide Prevention and Awareness (SPA) Week of Action. This year SPA will take place September 9-17, 2019, in honor of Suicide Awareness Month. During this week of action, we aim to shed light and spark advocacy efforts regarding suicide, depression, mental health, and the public health crisis of medical trainee and physician suicide, depression, and burnout.  Our objective is to raise awareness, educate, advocate for positive changes, and act by checking in on colleagues, friends, and family members—especially those working in the health care field—to prevent another suicide from happening. Suicide can be prevented. Let’s act together to make this a reality.

SPA will bathe you with the necessary medicinal resources to build and maintain your resilience, help you refocus and reflect on your own wellbeing, and give you resources to help others through the obstacles they encounter. SPA utilizes a variety of interactive and innovative events to inform and inspire the actions needed to change the way we view mental health, mental illnesses,  and the systematic policies that govern medical education and training. We hope that this week will enable you to empathize with others’ situations and prioritize your mental health in your medical training and education.

Click here to learn more about this year’s events.

As future healers, let’s change the narrative and place mental wellbeing back into the health care equation. Mental health = physical health! Mental health is just as important as physical health. We need to de-stigmatization mental health illnesses and humanize the needs of healthcare trainees and professionals so that we can foster a nurturing and supportive culture in medicine.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.” Gandhi

With medical student and physician suicide, depression, and burnout rising and becoming a global public health crisis, we cannot simply standby and ignore these problems any further. Healthcare professionals and trainees encounter emotionally traumatic and stressful experiences every day. They are burdened with the pressure to succeed, from the first day of high school to the day they retire, putting them at risk of suicidal ideation and potential crisis. If measures are not taken to stop this epidemic, not only will the 2030 projected physician shortage of more than 100,000 (AAMCNEWS) continue to grow, but the culture of the healthcare field, its practitioners, their families, and patients will continue to be devastated by the broken system that does not put the wellbeing of its practitioners at the forefront.

Our goal is to raise awareness about these issues and collectively work towards actionable efforts to correct systematic policies in favor of supporting the wellbeing of health professionals and trainees. Our objective is to create a forum for open and honest conversation that acknowledges the challenges of training and practicing medicine. We aim to work towards breaking down the stigma and fear of consequences around mental illnesses and suicide, while educating the community how to recognize warning signs and how to approach colleagues who may be at risk. We hope that this SPA week of action will bring the healthcare community together and humanize healthcare practitioners in the face of the public.

This is a call to action to critically examine our current healthcare system and institute positive changes to stop the suicide epidemic and promote mental health practices that elevate the wellbeing of individuals in the general public, our medical trainees, and professionals.