Physician Suicide: One Family's Story of Unthinkable Loss, Pain, Awareness and Growth

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On average, one physician dies by suicide every day. 

Statistics are powerful, but they don't have the same impact as a personal story. In support of National Physician Suicide Awareness Day on September 17th, and the entire month of September as Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, we are sharing a real story of physician suicide. 

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Download this article to read the story of Dr. Matthew Gall, who died by suicide in 2019, as told by his wife, Betsy Gall. In this article, you'll learn: 
  • Who Dr. Gall was and his experience leading up to his death by suicide
  • What Betsy Gall believes were some of the barriers and stigma preventing her husband from seeking support
  • Some of the deeply held beliefs of physicians around mental health, seeking help and ideals of perfectionism
  • Betsy's journey through the grief and coping process and what she hopes for future generations of physicians

Source: 10 Facts About Physician Suicide and Mental Health. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Watch our Webinar with Betsy Gall

In the webinar we heard real, emotional and powerful words from Betsy Gall about her husband, Dr. Matthew Gall, and what he was experiencing leading up to his death by suicide. We heard what she believes prevented him from getting the help he needed, the stigma and fear he felt about losing his medical license, a look into her grief process and what she hopes for future generations of physicians.


Additional Resources

To Save a Physician-eBook 10-067-1119_Page_01-3-1-1

Free eBook: To Save a Physician

This eBook tells a powerful story about a healthcare organization and its physicians—one who is struggling herself—in the aftermath of a colleague's death.

Download eBook

Healing the healer-webinar image

Webinar: Healing the Healer: Awareness and Prevention Strategies for Physician Suicide

Learn about factors pushing physicians from depression to suicide, recognize the role of leaders and colleagues who witness a struggling physician, strategies to enhance well being and educate colleagues on when to reach out to a physician. 

Watch Webinar

Infographic-Image-Weathering the Storm-Physician Burnout, Depression and Suicide-1

Infographic: Weathering the Storm: Physician Burnout, Depression and Suicide

Suicide is a complex and often daunting issue with multiple contributing factors. Learn more about the relationship between physician burnout, depression and suicide.

Download Infographic


Article: Healing the Healer: Providing a Path Towards Physician Suicide Prevention

Learn some of the drivers of physician suicide, what healthcare organizations can do to help physicians in need and actions to support physician suicide prevention. 

Download Article

Help is Available

Speak with someone today

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 if you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in crisis. Lifeline Chat is also available 24/7.

External Resources for Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Support

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • National Physician Suicide Awareness Day: September 17, 2021. This day aims to shed light on the issues of physician suicide and change the culture of medicine to save lives. The organization calls for a commitment from those in healthcare to break down stigma, increase awareness, open conversations, decrease the fear of consequences, reach out to colleagues, recognize warning signs and approach colleagues who may be at risk.

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): People have become increasingly comfortable talking about their mental health, particularly this past year. But the topic of suicide – when it comes up – is still scary for many people to think about. We all have mental health. It’s time we take the next step, ask more deeply about what someone is experiencing, and if we need it, find help together. It's time to deepen conversations and #StopSuicide together. National Suicide Prevention Week is September 5-11.

  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI): September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.