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Dr. Weinstein. A surgeon's struggle with mental health.



Doctors are the healers and the helpers. But what happens when it’s the doctors 
who need the healing and the help?
An estimated 300 to 400 doctors die by suicide each year, a rate of 28 to 40 
per 100,000; more than double that of general population (according to a review 
of 10 years of literature on the subject presented at the American Psychiatry 
Association annual meeting in May 2018).
Doctors who die by suicide often have untreated or undertreated depression or 
other mental illnesses, a fact that underscores the need for early diagnosis 
and treatment.
However, the stigma of a mental illness may be too overwhelming for some 
in the medical community to deal with, and they often mask their pain, rather 
than seek help.  That’s why Dr. Michael Weinstein, a surgeon at Thomas 
Jefferson University Hospital, is so very brave.

When his piece was published, Dr. Weinstein couldn’t anticipate the 
response, but said he received an overwhelming number of affirming
 messages from people from all different walks of life. However, 
perhaps most importantly inthis case, he heard from many colleagues in the 
medical field from across the countryand across the world who saw themselves 
in Dr. Weinstein’s story, and no longer felt alone in their own journeys.
“I realize that, from the outside looking in at me, I’m in potentially a position 
of power, of 
influence.  I’m in a world that could be stereotyped as a world that should be strong 
and courageous and infallible,” he said. “Telling a story from that perspective might
both be able to help folks in similar situations.”
Today, Dr. Weinstein is on a new path of healing. He has embraced Buddhist
 philosophy, and has found the practice of mindfulness meditation to be an 
important part of his recovery. 
Listen to him read excerpts from his inspiring essay “Out of the Straight Jacket” 
and listen to his reflections on his journey to date in this very moving 
OC87 Recovery Diaries video. 
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | 
DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman




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