The Weight of the White Coat

Publication Date: May 27, 2021

The Weight of the White Coat

Physicians in the United States have the highest rate of suicide of any profession. The "weight of the white coat" refers to the magnitude of responsibility that comes with being a professional healthcare provider while facing unrealistic expectations related to duties, infallibility, and omniscience. The lab coat signifies expertise, knowledge, and professionalism; but underneath the coats are imperfect human beings with their own needs to sustain their mental health.


The stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental health disorders can have tragic consequences for healthcare professionals. On September 6, 2020, Dr. Mat Malek ended his life. Danielle Malek shares her family's story in "The Weight of the White Coat," part of a series on mental health in medicine entitled, "Stepping Out of the Darkness."

  • Read "The Weight of the White Coat."

  • Download our toolkit "Building Resilience Among Physical and Behavioral Healthcare Providers During a Global Health Pandemic."

  • Register for our 4-part series on provider well-being.