My uncle was a brilliant neurologist and psychiatrist, who unfortunately began self-medicating for emotional issues. I relate to this now as a frontline health care worker having just gone through a pandemic. Back then especially, no one talked about the impact of secondary trauma on health care providers. Doctors were thought of as invincible.
He ended up in a facility for impaired physicians. He was not supposed to be able to leave, as he was suicidal. Someone made a mistake and let him go. He walked into a store and bought a shotgun, went to a local motel, and killed himself. Had there been mandatory waiting times and other gun control measures in place, maybe he would still be here.
Suicide shatters families. It’s an intergenerational trauma. I work in healthcare now as a chaplain, running a program to address burnout and secondary trauma among health care workers. As a new mom of a beautiful 18 month old boy, I just joined Moms Demand Action, and I’m ready to take action on this issue. I want a different world for my son.