'We must do better' on mental health for providers, exec says

Psychiatry is tied for the second-highest incidence of suicidal thoughts among clinicians across all specialties, with 12 percent of the field having reported suicidal thoughts, according to Medscape's ''Physician Burnout Report" published March 3.

Nearly 10 percent of physicians overall said they've had suicidal thoughts.

Jennifer Ziccardi, MSN, RN, Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health's chief nurse executive and vice president for the behavioral health service line, spoke with Becker's about the need to do more for providers.

Note: Response has been edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Jennifer Ziccardi: "There is no health without mental health" is our slogan for Atrium Health’s mental health awareness month we are currently celebrating. We created and asked teammates to complete a mental health pledge, "Be kind to your mind."

What we didn’t expect is the outpouring of responses and heartfelt appreciation that our organization is taking mental health seriously. I feel the headwind we are facing in healthcare is not realizing the impact that multiple, traumatic events can have on people, let alone those who work in a healthcare space.

After reading more than 1,500 comments from our teammates about their struggles, hopes and wishes, we must and will do better for our teammates.

As a leader at Atrium Health, I am proud to say we are delivering on our mental health promise to our teams by creating safer environments to provide care and options to seek mental health treatment, quickly and affordably.

Organizations must take mental health seriously. Truly there is no real health, without solid mental health.

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