The suicide rate among doctors in England is rising, with concerns about whether they can get help. Patients rely on doctors to look after their mental health but is enough being done to help the doctors when they are the ones with problems? There are concerns that some medical professionals in England are unable to get the help they need.In 2017, 26-year-old junior doctor Sophie Spooner suffered a panic attack while working on a paediatrics ward.Twenty-four hours later, she had taken her own life.Her mother, Dr Laurel Spooner, believes her suicide was the result of depression which she had struggled with in the past. She had previously been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.”She was looking for a mental health service that would have understood her mental health problem in the context of being a doctor,” Dr Laurel Spooner told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme:”If she could have seen somebody and had the right medication, I expect she would still be here.”‘Incredibly high risk’Figures from the Office for National Statistics, covering England, showed that between 2011 and 2015, 430 health professionals took their own lives.The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), is the only confidential service that offers doctors a range of assessments, treatment and case-management for all mental health problems.But doctors can only self-refer to the PHP, without the need to tell their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), if they work in London.Others can access the service, but in telling their CCG they consequently lose their anonymity.Image

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