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Dr. Robert Klitzman Contributes to a New York Times Discussion on the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Treatment for Doctors

In a recent New York Times Letters to the Editor, “Doctors, Attend to Your Mental Health,” Bioethics Program Director Dr. Robert Klitzman adds commentary to the article “Doctors Face a Stigma Against Seeking Mental Health Care,” by Seema Jilanini. 

Dr. Klitzman, author of When Doctors Become Patients, flags specific systems that often dissuade doctors from reporting the accurate status of their mental health. He cites a 2019 report from the National Academy of Medicine which reveals that disability and insurance companies can not only ask doctors about their current mental health, but also about past mental health diagnoses and treatment. 

Dr. Klitzman urges federal and state governments to establish legal protections for doctors who pursue mental health care. If those protections were put in place, doctors could seek help without the concern of such information being permissible in malpractice litigation. Dr. Klizman writes, “These additional changes can help reduce the discrimination and fear that doctors experience in seeking care that can assist both them and their patients.”

Read Dr. Klitzman’s full letter in “Doctors, Attend to Your Mental Health," in the New York Times.