A new survey is suggesting that a significant number of Canada's doctors are experiencing burnout, depression and even thoughts of suicide.

The online survey for the Canadian Medical Association shows more issues among medical residents than physicians, and more issues among female doctors than males.

Saving lives for a living can be hard on your health.

"It’s a high stress, high anxiety, high volume environment." said emergency room physician Dr. Chris Bourdon.

It may seem like part of the job and can make doctors like Bourdon often seem superhuman, but they’re not.

"All healthcare providers are human and they have the same levels of human suffering." said Bourdon.

The new study, which canvassed over 2,500 doctors and over 400 medical residents, suggests they're burning out at an alarming rate, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

More than 500 doctors work at the region's largest hospital, Sudbury’s Health Sciences North, and as many as 20% of them could have suicidal thoughts at some point in their careers, a staggering statistic for people tasked with keeping the rest of us healthy and could put patients at risk.

"Increasing studies show the link between physician burn out and patient care. And especially in quality of care, patient satisfaction with care, and the advice that patients get from their doctors. They're less likely to follow it if they think their doctor is burnt out." said Dr. Gigi Osler, of Canadian Medical Association.

Health Sciences North is trying to get in front of the problem and is starting with a change in attitude.

"It's not okay to work 24 hours in a row. It is okay to request time off, to have a chat, to take some down time, take some ‘you’ time." said Bourdon.

Because when you hold the lives of others in your hands, it's far too easy to neglect your own.