Doctors’ Mental Health; MS Therapy Program; and HPV Vaccines

Too Few Doctors Seek Mental Health Care

Doctors face high stress and high rates of depression and suicide, yet too few seek mental healthcare, advocates argue. Stigma and fear of reprisal keep medical professionals from seeking such care, they say.

Yet, 11% of female doctors and 9% of male doctors said that they have had thoughts of suicide, and 64% experienced colloquial depression, according to A Tragedy of the Profession: Medscape Physician Suicide Report 2022. Between 300 and 400 physicians die by suicide each year, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Female physicians affected: Stigma against mental health conditions keeps 69% of female physicians from seeking mental healthcare, according to a pre-pandemic study.

Normalizing mental health care: Managers should redefine workloads to ensure that physicians aren’t too heavily burdened with responsibilities that can cause overwork, burnout, and mental health problems.

Novel Intervention Helps Depression in Patients With MS

A new therapy program significantly reduced symptoms of depression in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research shows. The internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (iCBT) program is specifically designed for patients with MS and reduced depressive symptoms compared with usual treatment, according to research presented at the 38th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis 2022. Depression is common in this population, placing them at increased risk for mortality.

Benefits persist: Participants in the randomized controlled trial who received iCBT reported benefits that persisted up to 1 year after therapy.

A valuable option: Some patients who received iCBT continued to show signs of clinical depression after the treatment, but overall, the findings suggest that an internet option could help address depression in people with MS, researchers conclude.

HPV Vaccine Effectiveness Dependent on Age

The human papillomavirus vaccine is more effective when given to younger girls, a new survey shows. HPV rates were significantly lower among girls who received the vaccine against HPV types 16 and 18 at age 9-12 years compared with those who got the vaccine after their sexual debut, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in JAMA Network Open.

The prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 was 89% lower in the pre-debut group but only 41% lower in the post-debut group compared with unvaccinated female patients. The prevalence of HPV 16 and 18 was 82% lower among those who received the vaccine at the recommended age of 9-12 years.

Mean age of recipients: The mean age at which girls received the first vaccination dose was 14.5 years. Only 59% of girls received their first dose prior to their sexual debut.

Fewer vaccines among the young: Some 33% of vaccination-eligible girls aged 12 years or younger in 2006 received the vaccine before their sexual debut.

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