THE ISSUE

Like Lorna, physicians and health care providers suffer from a critically high degree of burnout and stress. Currently, more than one physician in the United States dies by suicide every day. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has magnified the issues faced by frontline health care providers, yet many continue to suffer in silence out of fear of the professional stigma of seeking help.

If this can happen to Lorna, this can happen to any healthcare provider.

In the majority of states, this fear is exacerbated by required disclosures of mental health assistance, regardless of scale or severity, to licensing boards and health care institutions. These disclosures have resulted in censure by licensing boards, termination of employment, and have had a widespread negative professional impact for many – reinforcing a culture of suffering in silence.

In order to avoid professional repercussions, overly stressed and burnt-out physicians and providers often feel trapped taking care of patients with little to no relief. It is not surprising that the quality of patient care suffers in parallel. Without immediate action, the added stress from the pandemic crisis will put more pressure on our caregivers, resulting in more loss of life and a further decline in patient care. This will no longer be a health care industry problem: It will affect all of us. For more about this issue, please review our articles published by the National Academy of Medicine, US News and World Report, The Boston GlobeThe Dallas Morning News, CNN, Academic Medicine and The Hill.

Lorna cared deeply about the well-being of her professional colleagues as much as she cared about her patients. As a way of extending her care for her colleagues, Lorna’s family has created the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation.

PUBLICATIONS

Burnout and Suicide Threaten America’s Health Care Workers. They Deserve Better.
U.S. News & World Reports

Do More to Support Health Workers’ Mental Health
U.S. News & World Reports

Changing Licensing and Credentialing Applications to Promote Health Workers’ Mental Health
AJPH

Invasive Mental Health Questions Have No Place on Nurse Licensing Applications
Medpage Today

An audit of mental health questions on U.S. nursing licensure applications: Evidence to guide urgent action for change
Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing

Burnout and the Effect on the Global Health Care Workforce Crisis: An Expert Panel Discussion
The Permanente Journal

Give Health Care Workers the Mental Health Support They Deserve
U.S. News & World Report

To Support Physicians' Mental Health, we Need a Systemic Overhaul
The Hill

Change the System to Help Doctors Get Mental Health Care
US News & World

How To Stop Losing Our Healthcare Workforce
Modern Healthcare

Time To Prioritize the Mental Health of our Frontline Health Care Heroes
The Hill

Preventing Clinician Suicide. A Call to Action During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Academic Medicine

Dr. Breen Needed Support. We Can't Let Such a Tragedy Happen Again
CNN

Our Family's Tragedy: Dr. Lorna Breen Is the Canary in the Coal Mine
U.S. News & World Report

Stigma Compounds the Consequences of Clinician Burnout During COVID-19
National Academy of Medicine

Family of ER Doctor Who Died by Suicide:: Honor Physicians with Mental Health Support
Boston Globe

Our Sister’s Suicide Shows the Need for Mental Health Care among Emergency Physicians
The Dallas Morning News