The Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

To address physician depression and suicide at one U.S. medical school, a faculty committee launched a Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program in 2009 whose focus is medical students’, residents’, and faculty physicians’ mental health. The program consists of a two-pronged approach: (1) screening, assessment, and referral and (2) education. The screening process is anonymous, confidential, and Web based, using customized software created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The educational component consists of a medical-schoolwide campaign including Grand Rounds on physician burnout, depression, and suicide as well as similar sessions geared toward trainees. The authors document the process of developing and implementing the program, including the program’s origins and goals, their critical decision-making processes, and successes and challenges of the program’s first year.