Two doctors (unknowingly) stop each other’s suicides

Few things shock me.

I run a suicide helpline—for doctors.

I’ve talked physicians off the ledge, out of their noose, away from their guns.

I thought I’d heard it all.

Yet today took my breath away. Two doctors (unknowingly) stopped each other’s suicides.

Nobody was prepared for what we heard in our physician peer support group.

Our group began amid the pandemic when docs contacted me from as far away as Poland, India, and New Zealand. As one person, I could no longer manage the volume, so I led group calls for suicidal doctors. Those eventually morphed into our Sunday physician trauma recovery group.

As far as I know, I maintain the only international doctor suicide registry. I’d like to stop adding names to my list. Our trauma group offers a safe space for doctors from around the world to heal together. Several claim our group has prevented their suicides.

For those who don’t realize the tremendous power of peer support, here’s an excerpt of what you missed today. Published with permission.

* * *

Lynette: I’ve been in this trauma group a year though I’ve not been coming lately. I’ll explain why: After my family doc I truly love retired last year, I planned to continue with the “new doc” who’d be taking over her practice. Then I got a call that the new doc was dropping me before meeting me, but refilled my meds for three months to give me time to find another doc. I’d been stable and high functioning for 20 years on meds for major depressive disorder and ADHD. I was unsuccessful finding another doc, so last month I began to self-titrate, knowing an abrupt discontinuation was gonna be “not good.”

Not good, turned out worse than I imagined. I sank deeper into a dysfunctional depressive hopelessness with ADHD-exacerbated helplessness. Trajectories filled my brain all moving different speeds and paths, pinging, orbiting, colliding, overwhelming and eventually I walked into my backyard, found a good spot in the bushes that would be easy to hose down and got on the ground with my “38 special” loaded and held against my head.

Seconds from ending it all, pings were racing in my head, then one grabbed ahold of me and filled my brain—“Angela!”

When the thought of Angela overtook me, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Angela’s my savior. She’s here today and she’s greater than the greatest great. I’d been avoiding her and everybody else’s calls for months, but one night a few weeks ago I answered. After we spoke she took it upon herself to find me a doctor. She called so many, screening them until her standards were met. She scheduled my appointment on March 27. I didn’t kill myself on March 24 in my backyard ‘cause I needed to make my appointment—for Angela!

Pamela: Wow, Angela. Amazing. Lynette, we’re so glad you are still here. Do you have a question for us? How can we all help you now?

Lynette: My question is what’s the closest you all came to suicide? And what turned you around?

Erika: Close! Two years ago, I found myself standing over a drawer of kitchen knives, thinking none of them would do the job properly. The fact that my own mother would find my body didn’t even matter to me. I was in a dark place in quarantine. Drank day and night to numb my pain. Reaching out to a helpline turned out to be a disaster. I felt foolish. Time and sick leave helped. I wish I knew about this group then!

Hannah: Lynette, this past Friday I cleaned out all my things and made a to-do list for my husband. Made sure my finances were taken care of. When I googled easiest and most foolproof method, I found Pamela and she convinced me to at least try this group first. I was close, but I don’t own a gun. Do you have someone who can hang on to your gun?

Jeff: Thanks for being vulnerable and trusting us with your story. Closest I came was after a tough shift when I felt the weight of my mistakes and considered what it would look like to just keep driving into a railing. What stopped me was prayer—I’m Christian. I was filled with an unexpected feeling of comfort that allowed me to make it safely home. I ended up taking the next day off work and it was restorative.

Priya: The time I got closest was after the second suicide in my residency in a year. I figured I’d be the third. After a 24-hour call, I went up to the hospital roof and just stared at the ground through my tears. What stopped me was the decision to leave training.

Lynette: Thanks so much y’all. I thought I’d cry today, but not sob like I am now. Priya, I totally understand ‘cause the thing about suicide for me is it offers comfort, a sense of relief, knowing if things get too painful or I just don’t wanna deal with it anymore I can make it be over in seconds.

John: That’s exactly what suicide is for me—having an “escape hatch” is a comfort. Only people like us can possibly understand. That was God—Spirit, Master of Light, Adonai—working through you Lynette. God isn’t up there inaccessible. He’s here on earth working through people like us.

Kendra: I see you Lynette. I hear you. You’re so brave. Like you, I feel suicide provides an option for comfort. I too find myself isolating and avoiding calls and texts. When I come as close as you, thinking of my family helps. Two months ago, I was so close. I tried to reach my mom by phone and was unsuccessful. I tried to reach out to church and got a voicemail. I felt abandoned by family, friends, God, and I didn’t think I’d make it through the night. Sarah—who I met in this group a year ago—stayed on the phone with me from 2:00 am until daybreak. I knew if I saw morning I’d survive the next day’s challenges. I’m so glad I’m still here.

Brittany: I can’t find the words to explain how close I’ve been, but I’ll write and share next week. I’m overwhelmed—this is like a spiritual experience hearing from you all, knowing I’m not alone and you beautiful people exist. I thought Zoom was for corporate meetings. I’ve never felt anything like this.

Pamela: Brittany, we’d love to hear your story next week. Angela, would you like to share now? What’s it feel like for you knowing you saved Lynette’s life?

Angela: A year ago last month, just after Ash Wednesday, I proclaimed my suicide plan. Plotted, planned, calculated. I had mom’s leftover hospice meds plus enough beta blockers and narcotics thanks to patients who tossed old pill bottles at me. As an overachiever, I needed to set everything up, get legal counsel, make a trust for kids, ensure everyone gets an education, leave no debts.

And that Friday night, getting dumped by a guy I didn’t find physically attractive, I said the heck with it. I’d cleanly finish the job. Seemed logical and do-able to me like most things I attempt. Why bother living? Trapped hostage in a marriage. Trapped for now by minor kids. My mom and aunt had just died. I put so much effort into everything with such little return. I’m not stupid: my patients will be taken care of by someone else. VOILA! Make sense?

Then, 36 hours later, out of the blue, Lynette’s sleepy voice was on my noon voicemail groggily croaking out something about a 500-word essay she had two hours to finish for a trauma meeting. I had to listen to it three times ’cause I found it ironic she’d be calling me after my rough week with no preconceived notion of my recent romancing. I’d just been dumped for a trauma surgeon. Let that digest for a bit while I’m hearing of a physician trauma group suggested for me. Was this to review trauma cases? Was this only for physicians who were physically assaulted? What’s a physician trauma group? Why was Lynette calling to tell me about it right then? My mind spun.

Lynette read her essay she’d written for Dr. Pamela’s group and by next Sunday I was hooked. Lynette coached me through the ridiculousness of my statements, her own suicidal thoughts, purging of toxic folks around us—I got rid of two, coming up on three soon. She listed my many accolades in her irreverent way and nick-named the doc who dumped me in words that still make me grin.

Lynette got me off the ledge without discounting what I was feeling or saying.

As did the rest of you.

I’m now happily divorced, thriving in my social life, enjoying my kids, exercising when I want to not because I’m “running away from something,” drawing a boundary with my narcissistic dad, feeling happy for the first time in a long time—and hopefully helping spare other docs from making similar mistakes!

I love you Lynette!

I pray for everyone here and send good vibes. No matter who you deify or not—who can say a higher power wasn’t at play when Lynette saved me that Sunday morning cluing me into the power of our trauma group?

Kendra: To all the new people, try the buddy system. Find someone here you can call 24/7. CALL THEM when you need to. The physician from our group who helped me through the night was not just a buddy. She’s my lifesaver and is now a lifelong friend.

[After our session I called Lynette and Angela. I wasn’t the only one in shock. They were both shocked to learn they’d prevented the other doctor’s death. Neither had revealed their near-suicides until today.]

* * *
Note: First names have been changed since all doctors may face career suicide for admitting their pain.

Join a peer support group here.

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29 comments on “Two doctors (unknowingly) stop each other’s suicides
  1. Grace says:

    Very powerful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Neena Grover says:

    Unbelievable story

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I am still reeling from being there are listening to all of these doctors who have saved each other’s lives. Even “Sarah” does not realize that she saved “Kendra” I’m told. I’m completely flabbergasted by the epic proportion of all the transformation in one peer support group.

  3. Michelle Bez says:

    wow! WOW!
    (teary eyes here)
    I’m glad they are both here! It amazes me that one can have a synapse in their brain to decide “Damn! I’m done with it all!” And then another synapse fires and makes sense to keep on going; A friend’s email. A friend’s call.

  4. MS says:


    Your time must be SO tight, but I wonder if you are interested in shining a Light on the issue with some national media? Getting the message to those whomight otherwisenot hear it is great, but one has tobe prepared in advance for the onslaught – unintended consequences and all.

  5. Barb says:

    Maybe it would be nice if some of these profiling lying doctors cared enough to stop their patients deaths! Do you realize how many CP patients have killed themselves because they have no pain meds now? I’m happy for those two Drs but what about all of us who healthcare has forgotten?? Drs who lie and cya garbage to make us want to die? I spent almost 30 years as an rn and now I’m disabled and labeled by Drs who have no morals ethics nothing but greed and cowardice…and too much power!

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      I’m trying to also help chronic pain patients and their docs. My friend, Randy Lamartiniere MD was just sentences to federal prison for prescribing controlled substances to chronic pain patients. Physicians have been vilified for attending to pain in patients (and previously years ago were encouraged to be liberal with pain meds—THEN—big switcheroooo now blamed for the opioid crisis and can be sent to prison). Not easy being a doc.

      Federal Jury Convicts Baton Rouge Doctor of Distribution of Controlled Substances by a Physician. United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr., announced the conviction of Dr. Randy J. Lamartiniere, age 64, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lamartiniere was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 27, 2021 and charged with distribution of controlled substances by a physician.

      • Barb says:

        That’s so sad! I didn’t read the whole thing, I’m sorry. I’m just so sick and I’m labeled and no Drs will help me! It is unreal! I’m going to die and they don’t care!! It’s just a nightmare and I don’t know why people haven’t gone to DC and done a March or something? Busses to take us all and just go! We’re all dying too young and have no lives…it’s insanity

  6. David Haile says:

    I thank my lucky stars for you Pamela.

    From the depths of my living soul.

    I thank you daily and lift you in my prayers.

  7. Bob Angell, Ph. D. says:

    Pamela, Just wow! Powerful and sobering. Thank you once again for all the hard work you do. I left most of social media; however, I do enjoy your updates when I seem them. Have a wonderful day.

  8. Ann says:

    Dear Pamela:

    I know you will get all your stars in heaven for what you do. I am not a doctor but I totally understand the pain and anguish of depression. I saw my doctor for a physical this last Friday and before she walked out the door, I thanked her for being my doctor and what a fabulous job she does. And also her medical assistant.I couldn’t survive without doctors. Please tell your group my love and prayers to them to succeed in life as doctors.

    All my best to you and what you do,

  9. Joanne Holland says:

    Thanks for all your work Pamela. Turns out your mom’s skills came to you after all. So glad, because we really need some place to turn. In the United States, I believe our toxic health care system really makes it worse for doctors. The level of contempt for patients expressed by some medical folks really is a measure of their personal self-contempt, I do believe. It is a crisis in our health care system.

  10. Kathy Stewart says:

    That’s a beautiful story Pamela and thanks for sharing this with me! So wonderful what you’re doing to help medical professionals. I read an article that many are quoting the profession all together!

  11. rachel neufeld says:

    Hi Pamela,

    It’s Rachel, Jay Neufeld’s sister. I had to contact you after reading your email. I’m nearly speechless. Who am I to thank you, but I am. Thank you for what you do and helping those doctors who need support in desperate times. You are saving their lives.

    Thank you.

    Forever sad for losing my brother to suicide,


  12. Sanj Katyal says:

    Hi Pamela

    I wanted to thank you for all you do for our fellow physicians. It is truly remarkable and appreciated even from non-suicidal physicians like myself.

    If you ever need any support or help don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Thanks again


  13. Helene Ruiz says:


  14. B. Angell says:


    I replied to your email on this subject. Truly amazing grace in this one. Like you, am not horribly shocked by much these days, but this one gave me goosebumps! Thank you for doing the Lord’s work by bringing a non-judgmental process to heal those who heal the rest of us. Wish I were close enough to have you as my treating physician.


  15. Brian Ewers says:

    My god, I cried reading this! I had no idea so many doctors are experiencing this degree of emotional trauma. Makes me think twice about hammering into the healthcare industry verbally, (re: removal of compassion, the mask thing “ex post facto laws” ‘, trauma informed care”non existent” etc. I’ve had such a hard time getting care of any kind whatsoever that I’m suing the only doctor I ever thought I could trust. Does anyone think there is a correlation with the pandemic “agenda”, (see, All hazards pandemic preparedness act, [sic]), and the surplus of traumatized doctors, or has it always been like this.

  16. susan slaughter says:

    Good for you. Powerful stuff

  17. Presidential Medicine says:


  18. Carla says:

    Sending you love, encouragement and continued support for what you do. You are an angel….Hugs, Carla (Erik Close, DO 7/31/20) mom.

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Ahhh I can still see your son’s face. I remember him well from our prior conversations.

      Blessings to you Carla.

  19. Jeff says:

    You have more notariety than almost any other physician alive today. The problem is…you are on the front line of a war. You destroy ego. You destroy pride. You are not just saving lives…you are saving souls. Saving people from misery…especially mental misery…is more important than saving anyone from physical ailments. And, you do that as well.

    So, you are a pioneer. Uncharted territory. You may be attacked in this world. But you will be heralded well after you leave this earth behind.

    Thank you.

  20. Rita Losee says:

    My heart is full of love for you and gratitude for the work you are doing.

  21. Impact Outreach says:

    It Takes courage & strength; when one sees hopelessness, despair, grief & trauma everyday!

    I believe what you are doing is outstanding ; by helping others and providing safe spaces for people to ignite & grow hope inside out.

    April 16 is world semi colon day

    Project semi colon is an anti stigma campaign.

    When the writer ( author ) [ you ] chooses a semi colon to continue and join two parts of sentence instead of giving up.

    The power of a peer is priceless in a crisis; for somethings there is Mastercard!

    There are some things that are impossible to place a monetary value too; hope, connection & belonging.

    What makes a peer so valuable is the fact [ he / she / they / them ] struggled too in times of chaos, fear & trauma.

    Those who were hopeless in the past become the strongest hope storytellers.

    When someone believes, inspires and empowers others to reach one’s full potential; that’s when the impossible becomes possible.

    Shining a light on the darkest nights ; helps other learn to see in the dark & believe with faith ….

    That the sun will rise again tomorrow;

    Your doing an amazing 👏 thing Pamela Wible; keep it up …. this really touched me ..

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