Find hope in a collection of articles, videos, and personal stories on the LifeBridge blog.
A story about a Dr. Mark Greenawald from US News and World Report
A personal story of loss by suicide written by Dr. Mukta Panda
Tennessee Medical Foundation
The Tennessee Medical Foundation offers assistance to distressed physicians through its Physicians Health Program (PHP). PHP works with physicians on a variety issues including drug and alcohol dependency and addiction, disruptive behaviors, psychiatric disorders, stress issues, cognitive deficits and boundary issues. PHP helps physicians and other health care providers with treatment, recovery and a return to their practice. PHP has a 24-hour phone line, 615-467-6411.
The TMF and PHP have created a handout about Handling Distressed Physician Behavior. You can download a copy here.
A PHP brochure is available here for download.
PHP services are available to:
Physicians – MDs and DOs
Families of physicians
TMF Steps to Recovery
The Tennessee Medical Foundation (TMF) maintains a 24-hour phone line for family members, patients, and co-workers to report, confidentially, their concerns about a physician.
The TMF PHP medical director and/or case managers attempt to verify the reported behavior. If the behavior is not verified, the process is halted or the information is held for further inquiry.
If the need for help is substantiated, the physician is asked to make an appointment for an interview with TMF PHP personnel. In exchange for support, the physician is invited to follow the recommendations of the PHP in seeking specified evaluation/treatment at his or her own expense.
All treatment is carried out in approved hospitals and treatment facilities. Physicians affected by other emotional or behavioral conditions are treated with an initial evaluation and subsequently prescribed inpatient and/or intensive outpatient therapy.
Re-Entry into practice usually occurs within one or two weeks following treatment. During this period, the PHP is often the physician’s strongest – and sometimes only – ally. The PHP medical director and case managers work in concert with the treatment center’s recommendations to establish contractual ground rules for re-entry into practice.
Aftercare is usually a five-year process. It is guided by an individualized contract, comprised of recommendations of the PHP and the treatment facility. The TMF offers guidance and accountability in the recommended aspects of each participant’s recovery.
If you've watched a video that you think would be helpful for others, send us a link and we'll post it on the site.
How Can You Help?
Be aware. Learn the warning signs listed on the first page.
Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
Ask if s/he is thinking about suicide.
Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
Be willing to listen. Allow for expressions of feelings and accept those feelings.
Be non-judgmental. Avoid debating whether suicide is right or wrong, whether someone’s feelings are good or bad, or on the value of life.
Avoid taunting the person or daring him/her to “do it”.
Avoid giving advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
Avoid asking “why.” This only encourages defensiveness.
Offer empathy, not sympathy.
Avoid acting shocked. This creates distance.
Don’t keep someone else’s suicidal thoughts—or your own—a secret. Get help—silence can be deadly.
Offer hope that alternatives are available. Avoid offering easy reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.
Take action. Remove anything that the person could use to hurt themselves means. Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Who Can You Talk To?
If you or someone you know is severely depressed or actively suicidal, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
CHCMS member physicians have access to 6 free and confidential counseling sessions through LifeBridge. Call LifeBridge at 423-591-9830 or Contact a counselor directly here.
LifeBridge supports the mind-body well-being of physicians who face high levels of burnout. It encourages them to reach out for help before they are in crisis. LifeBridge provides free counseling services to physicians along with other programming and services.
Consider making a donation to the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga and help us continue the mission of supporting the well-being of local physicians, providing health care for the working poor, improving community health planning and promoting educational opportunities to promote future healthcare workforce development.
In addition to LifeBridge, the Medical Foundation supports the good work of Chattanooga physicians in many ways:
Project Access, a physician-led initiative that provides healthcare to the working poor. Since 2004, more than 18,975 people have received $175 million in donated health care services. Lives have been saved, vision has been restored, people have been able to return to work to support their families because of the compassion and care they received through Project Access.
The annual Youth Leadership Forum encourages promising high school juniors and seniors to pursue careers in medicine. This is important as we face a future shortage of physicians. With hopes of growing the program, we received an unprecedented 100+ nominations. With current funding and support, we were able to accept 30 students into the program.
In a community-wide emergency, the Foundation and Society are designated to mobilize and deploy physicians to non-hospital sites throughout the community. We regularly assist local government with emergency planning.
Community health initiatives to reduce infant mortality, to combat obesity, to reduce smoking in public places, and to promote healthy behaviors benefit from the leadership of physicians and Foundation staff.
Please consider a gift to the Medical Foundation. Your gift can be given in honor of a loved one or colleague, or in memory of a family member or friend. You can also target your gift to a specific initiative or program.