National Physician Suicide Awareness Day; local doctor speaks out on mental health importance

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Friday, September 17, is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day and a local doctor is speaking up about the importance of mental health in the healthcare industry.

Dr. Ryan Sullivan is an ER Physician at Baptist Health Fort Smith. He said it is extremely common for healthcare providers to feel the weight of their job, but even more so over the last year as doctors are seeing patients lose their lives to COVID-19.

“There’s always been a underlying mental health struggle with a lot of people and it goes unnoticed and unreported lots of times, but the pandemic has definitely heightened that for sure,” Dr. Sullivan said. “We got into this- hopefully most physicians, nursing, all of us-got into this to help someone. We are human in the background, we definitely have many emotions.”

Dr. Sullivan stresses the importance of hospital administrators taking mental health seriously and applauds the state of Arkansas for recently starting to take this matter more seriously.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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