(CBS DETROIT)–  “It was a problem before and it’s become an even greater problem during the pandemic,” said Dr. Meilan Han M.D. Professor of Medical, Chief Pulmonary Care at the University of Michigan Hospital.

According to a 2019 study by the Missouri State Medical Association, 300 doctors die by suicide every year across the nation, nearly one per day. This is nearly double the rate of the general population. And burnout from the pandemic is adding fuel to this crisis.

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“What I’m being asked to do at work is doubled, what I’m expected to do at home is tripled and there’s just not enough hours in a day,” said Dr. Han.

In the past two years, Dr. Han has seen extreme burnout with her team at Michigan Medicine, as well as having her own stressful experience.

She says the work-life balance has been extremely difficult especially with so many exiting the field.

“The only option was for everyone to work more, longer hours, more shifts,” Han said.

“With this pandemic we were seeing so many physicians, so many individuals that were on the frontlines that would think that they would see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic lessening and then here we go again with the numbers going up,” said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rose Moten.

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Those in the mental health field say they’re also feeling burnout and many not able to take on new patients due to the extreme demand during this time.

According to Mental Health of America, 93% of Healthcare workers are experiencing stress.

That pressure becoming too much for Dr. Leona Breen, a physician who took her life in 2020 while treating a surge of COVID patients in New York city.

Through her death, a bill to battle burnout and prevent physician suicide was created.

“Try to help physicians prioritize their own health,” said Han.

The bill that would reduce burnout for healthcare staff and students and raise mental health awareness has passed in Congress.

Physician Suicide bill:
The Dr. Leona Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (story):
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