Dr. Seun Adetayo, renowned plastic surgeon, author, and inspiring speaker, focusses her attention on the mental health challenges and suicides that historically have been stigmatized and shrouded in secrecy throughout the healthcare profession.
OMAHA, NE – May 18, 2021 – Dr. Seun Adetayo, renowned plastic surgeon, author, and inspiring speaker, has posted a new article on her website entitled, “Mental Health Awareness Month: Worsening Occurrence in The General Population and Shocking Statistics In Healthcare Professionals.” Dr. Adetayo shines a light on a tradition of shame and secrecy in her chosen profession that is in dire need of change.
Mental Health Awareness Month: Worsening Occurrence in The General Population and Shocking Statistics In Healthcare Professionals
“May is Mental Health Awareness Month,” Dr. Adetayo announces. She continues, “The stigma of mental health challenges have run deep throughout societies and across centuries. Having a mental health diagnosis is often seen as a weakness or something disgraceful to be ashamed of.” She adds, “Although we do not approach diabetes or hypertension in this manner, mental health continues to carry a stigma that is not ascribed to other health conditions.”
As Dr. Adetayo points out, “Mental health challenges permeate every aspect of society, and healthcare is no exception.” She elaborates, “Over the past several years, I have read, seen, and heard of physicians struggling with mental health conditions, several of whom went on to commit suicide. In some cases, organizations have gone through great lengths to hide suicide as the actual cause of death.” According to Dr. Adetayo, “Despite the seemingly good intention of such secrecy to preserve the individual’s privacy, the problem is that such secrecy often does a greater disservice by further worsening the stigma already associated with mental health diagnoses. After all,” she reminds readers, “such levels of secrecy do not surround deaths from other conditions like heart attacks or strokes, so concealing deaths from suicide only serves to promote the silencing and stigmata. On the other hand,” she notes, “there are individuals and organizations working to shed light on suicide deaths. It is great to see such initiatives to bring awareness of mental health to the forefront for individuals, families, communities, and the society at large.”
“During this Mental Health Awareness Month,” Dr. Adetayo writes, “we reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted mental wellness. When you consider how concerns about mental health among the general population have come to the foreground – pressures of the disease, social isolation, shelter-in-place, mask-fatigue, dying from the disease, etc.– can you begin to understand the trauma healthcare professionals have been enduring for the past year and a half?” She emphasizes, “In actuality, this has been going on long before COVID, but the past year’s pressures on healthcare workers have intensified far beyond the norm, thus bringing the issue to a more conscious and collective awareness.”
Dr. Adetayo reveals that, “According to a study conducted by The American Journal of Psychiatry, prior to COVID-19, one doctor commits suicide in the U.S. every day. This is one of the highest suicide rates across professions. And according to the study, the number of doctor suicides — 28 to 40 per 100,000 — is more than twice that of the general population. The rate in the general population is 12.3 per 100,000.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/physiciansfoundation/2018/07/18/physicians-are-human-too/?sh=662736384a29
“This is not new news,” Dr. Adetayo states, adding, “In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the increased rate of suicide among physicians has been known since 1858, yet physician suicide has remained a silent epidemic for the past 150 years.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436060/
According to Dr. Adetayo, “It is also anticipated that due to COVID-19, these numbers are predicted to show a steep increase due to the increased work demands, social isolation, decreased self-care and increased exposure to emotionally traumatic events at work and home. At the same time,” she adds, “COVID-19 may also be responsible for helping to break the silence and bringing more focused attention that cultivates mental and emotional stress among healthcare professionals.”
About Dr. Adetayo
Dr. Seun Adetayo currently practices in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and a Diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. She is a Professor of Surgery, and Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Adetayo is unique in her field. As a gifted surgeon operating in a competitive field, Dr. Adetayo is also the first foreign-born (Nigerian) female minority surgeon to have built a successful nationally accredited multidisciplinary program for children with birth defects in Northeastern New York. She continued in this trajectory of helping patients and families as she now heads the Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery where she serves as the Chief at the Children’s Hospital. Her journey has been dedicated to caring for patients and their families; mentorship for students, residents, and faculty; advocacy for legislation at local and national level; research; education; and community engagement and leadership. She shares her journey and strategies for success via her print material, meeting panels, blogs, and speaking engagements.
Dr Adetayo has authored several book chapters in leading texts, including the second edition of Comprehensive Cleft Care which is an authoritative text volume on cleft and craniofacial disorders and treatment. She also authored a chapter in the Family Companion Guide for educating patients and families with cleft and craniofacial diagnoses. She was also the author of the chapter on treatment of zygoma fractures in the text Operative Techniques in Plastic Surgery.
She has received over 40 awards and recognition, and her work has resulted in over 50 published works and over 60 presented works at regional, national, and international meetings. She is published in peer-reviewed publications in leading journals including Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal, Annals of Plastic Surgery, Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, and Journal of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics.
Dr Adetayo plays an important role in mentoring and education in surgery, healthcare, and professional circles. She served as an invited surgeon and surgical educator during her last mission trip to Zimbabwe, where she served as the lead surgeon and guest lecturer for various hands-on plastic surgical reconstructions and teaching sessions. She is active in Women In Leadership lectures and advocacy. She served as a speaker for the Synthes collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Company on Improving Cultural Competence and Ethnic Diversity in Healthcare, and was one of four selected panelist speakers on Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery International Program by L’Oreal in conjunction with Resurge International. She was an invited speaker at the 2019 Healthcare Finance Management Association (HFMA) annual Women In Leadership Conference in upstate New York. In 2020, she served as the Keynote Speaker for the Stryker Women’s Network National Conference National Women in Surgery and Leadership event in California.
Dr. Adetayo has served in various community leadership positions including Chairperson of the Long Beach Rescue Mission, Co-President of the Phi Delta Epsilon Premedical Society, Co-President of the Pritzker REMEDY Cuba Medical Aid Mission, Coordinator of the Chicago Local Chapter of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) program for inner city Chicago school kids. She currently serves as Managing Editor and Co-Chair of the Learning Resource Committee of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA).
She has been involved in various medical education and surgical trips to several countries including Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Peru, and Zimbabwe as educator and surgeon. She was awarded a Diploma of Honor conferred by the President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru. She collaborates on meaningful initiatives with various international organizations including Rotary International and The Smile Train on improving surgical outcomes, healthcare delivery, patient safety, and quality control standards in surgical reconstruction. She continues to be active in advocacy and philanthropic efforts in developing children and advancing communities.