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Mental Healthcare: Time to End the Stigma

Mental Healthcare: Time to End the Stigma

It was with great sadness that we all saw the tragic news of Robin Williams’ suicide. For years, mental health has been a taboo topic. While the passing of this great actor is horrifying, we are only aware of it because of his stardom. How many others have met a tragic fate like his, but we just do not hear about it because they are ordinary people? It affects all ages, all races, and socioeconomic statuses. It is not a phenomena located to the U.S. but all across the globe. True that many people have trouble gaining access to mental healthcare sources, often for insurance coverage reasons or lack of available providers. But more often, help isn’t pursued because of the stigma attached to mental health diagnoses. All too often patients are embarrassed to admit they have a mental health problem. Yet, diseases such as anxiety and depression are very prevalent in our society. These conditions are chronic medical problems, just like diabetes and hypertension. But patients are often made to feel that these diseases are just in their head and that they can just “get over it.” This does not just happen in our general society, but when they seek medical help as well. Patients do not understand that even physical pain can be an underlying sign of depression. And many feel that their healthcare providers brush it off as “just depression.” So, rather than face these stigmas and embarrassments, many choose to deny or hide their illnesses. They are left untreated, which allows tragedies like suicide to occur. How can mental healthcare stigmas be ended? 1. More...
Docs Divided on Ethical Dilemmas

Docs Divided on Ethical Dilemmas

Medscape’s 2012 Ethics Report surveyed over 24,000 US physicians across 25 specialties about their top ethical dilemmas. While there were more obvious dilemmas that physicians generally agreed on how to handle – for example, 78% of physicians would report a physician, friend, or colleague who occasionally seemed impaired by alcohol or illness – there were a considerable number of situations that physicians were split on. Here are some survey questions that divided the survey group: Would you ever give life sustaining therapy if you believed it to be futile? (Yes: 35%, No: 24%, It depends: 41%) Would you ever devote scarce or costly resources to a younger patient rather than to one who was older but not facing imminent death? (Yes: 27%, No: 39%, It depends: 25%) Should physician-assisted suicides be allowed in some situations? (Yes: 47%, No: 40%, It depends: 13%) Would you ever dismiss a patient who is ‘non-adherent’ or who ‘overuses’ resources on their capitation plans? (Yes: 32%, No: 33%, It depends: 35%) Is it right to provide intensive care to a newborn who will either die soon or survive but have an objectively terrible quality of life? (Yes: 34%, No: 27%, It depends: 39%) Would you ever continue treating a patient-despite a family’s wishes to end treatment-if you felt the patient had a chance to recover? (Yes: 23%, No: 32%, It depends: 45%) Would you perform an abortion in certain situations, even if it were against your own beliefs? (Yes: 51%, No: 36%, It depends: 13%) Click here to view Medscape’s 2012 Ethics Report. Which side of the fence do you fall on with these...
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