From the Editor

The days have been long. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, many are feeling it. 

What has the impact been on the mental health of us physicians? We have anecdotal evidence, but data has been lacking. In the first selection, we consider a new paper by Dr. Daniel T. Myran (of the University of Ottawa) and his co-authors. Drawing on data from 34,000 Ontario doctors, the authors considered MD visits for mental health and substance (in other words, doctors visiting their doctors), finding that such appointments were up 27% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. “These findings may signal that the mental health of physicians has been negatively affected by the pandemic.” We look at the paper and the invited commentary that accompanies it.

In the second selection, Agnes Arnold-Forster (of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and her co-authors consider the evolving understanding of physician health by looking to history. They argue that three concepts – medical exceptionalism, medicalization, and an emphasis on individual responsibility – have harmed physicians, creating “excessive commitment and complete personal sacrifice.” They suggest an alternative. “By attending to the lessons of the past, we can envision a better future for patients and their physicians.”


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