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The Shame of Suicide and Attempted Suicide in Physicians: Five Physicians Who Are Speaking Out

Available: 09/01/2023 - 09/01/2026


This course is free to members for the month of September. On October 1, 2023, the course will be available for purchase.


Physicians are known to be a group of individuals who are more at risk of suicide than the general public. Data are sparse about attempted suicide, but we do know that medical students and residents have rates of suicidal ideation that are higher than age-matched peers. Robust and well-intentioned efforts to study and treat the painful cognitive and affective states that drive suicidal impulses in physicians are thwarted by shame. Physicians do not feel comfortable or safe sharing something so private and frightening or so dark with their peers, families, training directors and treating professionals. What’s worse is that medicine itself, the so-called culture of medicine, is too often a partner in this scourge of embarrassment, unacceptance, judgment, denial and suppression. This is dangerous. The intent of this session is to unravel these forces, present new learning from look-back research, share personal narratives, and offer ways to save doctors’ lives. Michael Myers, MD specialist in physician health, will discuss findings from his qualitative postvention research on shame with two groups: families of doctors who have died by suicide and doctors who have made near lethal attempts at suicide. He will also introduce the notion of caste in the house of medicine, a pernicious force that shuns and shames doctors who speak openly about their mental health challenges. Katherine Termini, MD PGY-1 resident in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University will share her story of entering medicine after grappling with mental illness and suicidality years prior. She will discuss her perspective on stigma within medical training, how it may be contributing to physician suicide, and why it is important to shine a light on mental health. William Lynes, MD board-certified urologist, will share his story of medical practice and suicide attempts, and the shame felt during his practice and in the years that followed. He will chronicle his writing and speaking on the subject of physician suicide and the resulting restorative result. Linda Wrede-Seaman, MD a primary care and palliative care physician and former emergency medicine physician is a survivor of her husband Dr Matthew Seaman’s suicide. He was an emergency physician who was sued during his first year of retirement.


Recorded webinar, non-interactive, self-paced distance learning activity.

This presentation was recorded at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting 2022.

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate how shame complicates and worsens the symptom picture of mental states that drive suicide attempts and suicide in physicians
  • Give examples of situations in which physicians’ attempts to be open and transparent about current or past suicidality have been shut down
  • Describe ways in which we can all become more comfortable discussing the uncomfortable subject of suicide

Target Audience


Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 90 minutes
Begin Date: September 1, 2023
End Date: September 1, 2026

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Program Presenters

  • Michael Myers, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Katherine Temini, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • William Lynes, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Linda Wrede-Seaman, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Betsy Gall, MD. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners

  • Jacqueline Maus Feldman, M.D., Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Robert O. Cotes, M.D., Vice-Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Uchenna Okeye, M.D., Vice-Chairperson, Scientific Program Committee, Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance

Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Sep 01, 2026
Cost: Member: $18.75
Non-Member: $37.50
Medical Student: $37.50
Resident Fellow Member: $37.50
Credit Offered:
1.5 CME Credits
1.5 COP Credits
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