Jeff welcomes back to the podcast, Dr. Kyle Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah.
Kyle’s book, Fallible: A Memoir of a Young Physician’s Struggle with Mental Illness, explores a lot of serious issues that impact many medical students and physicians throughout their careers. Over 40% of medical interns have diagnosable depression, while almost a quarter of interns have thought about suicide in the past two weeks. Those are horrifying statistics that we need to confront head-on.
We need to open up the conversation to reduce the stigma of mental health and depression in the medical community. Physicians need to understand that it’s OK to seek help for these issues. As physicians, we need to do a better job about taking our own advice. We’re very good at telling our patients to eat well and exercise regularly but are often terrible at incorporating that advice into our own lives. Even though it’s likely not our fault that we have a mental illness, there are things you can be doing to proactively address your situation. If we’re not taking care of ourselves, we’re actually doing more harm than good.
One great method for dealing with stress and anxiety is developing coping skills. It’s important to develop numerous coping skills to deal with stressors as they arise. Having just one coping skill is not enough. We need to develop several in the event that we are unable to tap into a specific coping skill.
How does Kyle suggest we address the problem of mental illness in the medical community?
- Suggestion 1 – Recognize the issue. We need to be up-front in recognizing mental illness and have proactive conversations about how to address it.
- Suggestion 2 – Develop your coping skills. Work on developing multiple coping skills to help you deal with stress and anxiety.
- Suggestion 3 – Find a trusted confidant who you can talk to about these issues. This could be a family member, friend, or colleague.
Most importantly, be proactive about your well-being!
Kyle Bradford Jones, MD, FAAFP
Kyle is an Associate Professor (Clinical) in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He completed his training at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and then residency at the University of Utah. He is author of Fallible: a memoir of a young physician’s struggle with mental illness, and is currently Past-President of the Utah Academy of Family Physicians. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and four children.