Diego De Leo Key Topics of Thought

Be Caring, be Passionate and Connect - Key Thoughts for Doctors from Prof Diego De Leo

Professor Diego De Leo is an exceptional doctor who has dedicated decades to research in suicide and suicide prevention. He is one of the world’s leading researchers in this field and his work has appeared in more than 700 publications. Diego has been formally recognised with a number of awards and accolades, including appointment as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. 

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In conversation with Dr Sam Hazeldine, Diego discusses his career path so far and shares his insights into suicide and suicide prevention.

 

Unfortunately too many doctors suffer from stress, depression, burn out and in the worst of cases suicide becomes the only option some doctors feel they have. We’ve extracted some of the key topics of thought from Diego and Sam’s conversation on how doctors can succeed and where they are experiencing personal difficulties, what they can do to start to overcome them.

 

1/ Destigmatise mental illness and suicide

As doctors, we can be influential on how the rest of population views issues like mental illness and suicide, and how the two inter-relate.

Diego stresses; “I believe it’s absolutely important to destigmatise mental disorders. However, maybe talking about suicide and comparing or overlapping suicide to mental disorder may be wrong for a number of reasons.” There are many other reasons beyond a mental illness; “The rest are difficulties in life. The rest are litigations with family members, or neglect from family members, or loss of face and reputation, or separation, divorces, or financial failure; all these issues that may make your life very, very difficult.”

 

2/ The importance of support networks

Though Diego has worked with the idea of suicide most of his working life, the topic did not pull him down as his passion for researching suicide prevention was so great.

However, Diego thought about suicide a lot after the tragic loss of his two children in a road accident in 2005.

“I don’t feel ashamed in saying that,” he says, “but after such a catastrophe, finding a meaning in life is really very difficult.”

His family, of course, were also in a lot of pain, so it were Diego’s friends that helped and supported him. Diego highlights the importance of having a support network you can reach out to on a personal level – not through apps and electronic devices, but old fashioned face-to-face conversations and connections.

“I believe, that having friends and people to whom to talk and to be heard was crucially important; so what is called connectedness, especially the real connectedness, not just the electronic one but the connectedness with other human beings is crucially important. To have emotionally close persons to whom to talk when you need it is absolutely important in my view.”

 

3/ Connect with your patients

Similarly, it is important to take time to connect with you patients, perhaps more important, Diego suggests, than providing diagnosis. However as most, if not all, doctors struggle with time pressure and stress, finding time and ways to actually achieve this with patients can be a major challenge. 

Diego says; “It’s so important to feel that your doctor is listening to you and is not pressured by other patients, by a very crowded waiting room, and so that you have at least for a limited time full attention of your doctor, and for the questions that you have there are answers.”

“One really common report is that [the patient] didn’t find their doctor really listening to them […] not wanting to listen to the real reasons that they are suicidal. So making a diagnosis and a prescription is not like understanding the situation of the patient, and possibly the very model of ‘the diagnosis’ is something we need to overcome for the future of medicine.”

 

4/ Be Passionate, and your patients will connect with you

“Passion can be identified quite immediately with the non-skilled eye.” 

Diego reminds us that great doctors do not take the oath for financial gain or social status. Great doctors seek out and follow their passion for their work. Patients and colleagues will pick up on your passion and interest in your work – or lack of.

“Transferring serenity, transferring confidence, transferring the optimist in others is crucially important and there is nothing that kills you as receiving a diagnosis with no hope for the future.”

 

Want to hear more from exceptional doctors like Prof Diego De Leo? Check our series of interviews and blog posts here.

 

What do you think about Prof Diego De Leo’s approach? Get the conversation started, share your comments below. 

  

Be Caring, be Passionate and Connect - Key Thoughts for Doctors from Prof Diego De Leo

Professor Diego De Leo is an exceptional doctor who has dedicated decades to research in suicide and suicide prevention. He is one of the world’s leading researchers in this field and his work has appeared in more than 700 publications. Diego has been formally recognised with a number of awards and accolades, including appointment as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. 

Prof_Diego_De_Leo__1.png

In conversation with Dr Sam Hazeldine, Diego discusses his career path so far and shares his insights into suicide and suicide prevention.

 

Unfortunately too many doctors suffer from stress, depression, burn out and in the worst of cases suicide becomes the only option some doctors feel they have. We’ve extracted some of the key topics of thought from Diego and Sam’s conversation on how doctors can succeed and where they are experiencing personal difficulties, what they can do to start to overcome them.

 

1/ Destigmatise mental illness and suicide

As doctors, we can be influential on how the rest of population views issues like mental illness and suicide, and how the two inter-relate.

Diego stresses; “I believe it’s absolutely important to destigmatise mental disorders. However, maybe talking about suicide and comparing or overlapping suicide to mental disorder may be wrong for a number of reasons.” There are many other reasons beyond a mental illness; “The rest are difficulties in life. The rest are litigations with family members, or neglect from family members, or loss of face and reputation, or separation, divorces, or financial failure; all these issues that may make your life very, very difficult.”

 

2/ The importance of support networks

Though Diego has worked with the idea of suicide most of his working life, the topic did not pull him down as his passion for researching suicide prevention was so great.

However, Diego thought about suicide a lot after the tragic loss of his two children in a road accident in 2005.

“I don’t feel ashamed in saying that,” he says, “but after such a catastrophe, finding a meaning in life is really very difficult.”

His family, of course, were also in a lot of pain, so it were Diego’s friends that helped and supported him. Diego highlights the importance of having a support network you can reach out to on a personal level – not through apps and electronic devices, but old fashioned face-to-face conversations and connections.

“I believe, that having friends and people to whom to talk and to be heard was crucially important; so what is called connectedness, especially the real connectedness, not just the electronic one but the connectedness with other human beings is crucially important. To have emotionally close persons to whom to talk when you need it is absolutely important in my view.”

 

3/ Connect with your patients

Similarly, it is important to take time to connect with you patients, perhaps more important, Diego suggests, than providing diagnosis. However as most, if not all, doctors struggle with time pressure and stress, finding time and ways to actually achieve this with patients can be a major challenge. 

Diego says; “It’s so important to feel that your doctor is listening to you and is not pressured by other patients, by a very crowded waiting room, and so that you have at least for a limited time full attention of your doctor, and for the questions that you have there are answers.”

“One really common report is that [the patient] didn’t find their doctor really listening to them […] not wanting to listen to the real reasons that they are suicidal. So making a diagnosis and a prescription is not like understanding the situation of the patient, and possibly the very model of ‘the diagnosis’ is something we need to overcome for the future of medicine.”

 

4/ Be Passionate, and your patients will connect with you

“Passion can be identified quite immediately with the non-skilled eye.” 

Diego reminds us that great doctors do not take the oath for financial gain or social status. Great doctors seek out and follow their passion for their work. Patients and colleagues will pick up on your passion and interest in your work – or lack of.

“Transferring serenity, transferring confidence, transferring the optimist in others is crucially important and there is nothing that kills you as receiving a diagnosis with no hope for the future.”

 

Want to hear more from exceptional doctors like Prof Diego De Leo? Check our series of interviews and blog posts here.

 

What do you think about Prof Diego De Leo’s approach? Get the conversation started, share your comments below. 

  

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