Previous studies have highlighted risks for depression and suicide in medical cohorts, but evidence regarding psychiatric residents is missing. This study aimed to determine rates of depression, suicide ideation and suicide attempt among psychiatric residents and to identify associated individual, educational and work-related risk factors.
A total of 1980 residents from 22 countries completed the online survey which collected data on depression (PHQ-9), suicidality (SIBQ), socio-demographic profiles, training, and education. Generalized linear modeling and logistic regression analysis were used to predict depression and suicide ideation, respectively.
The vast majority of residents did not report depression, suicide ideation or attempting suicide during psychiatric training. Approximately 15% (n=280) of residents met criteria for depression, 12.3% (n=225) reported active suicide ideation, and 0.7% (n=12) attempted suicide during the training. Long working hours and no clinical supervision were associated with depression, while more completed years of training and lack of other postgraduate education (e.g. PhD or psychotherapy training) were associated with increased risk for suicide ideation during psychiatric training. Being single and female was associated with worse mental health during training.
Due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, results should be confirmed by longitudinal studies. Response rate was variable but the outcome variables did not statistically significantly differ between countries with response rates of more or less than 50%.
Depression rates among psychiatric residents in this study were lower than previously reported data, while suicide ideation rates were similar to previous reports. Poor working and training conditions were associated with worse outcomes. Training programmes should include effective help for residents experiencing mental health problems so that they could progress through their career to the benefit of their patients and wider society.