The Mental Health issue
Looking after the mental wellbeing of our doctors
Many doctors and physicians suffer from mental health and wellbeing issues. It’s understandable. As a healthcare professional you’ll face highly stressful situation on a regular basis, as well as keep up with demanding hours that can lead to exhaustion and fatigue. The Covid19 pandemic has amplified the mental health impact of a career in healthcare, too.
The public relies on doctors to treat mental health declines. There are currently just over 190,000 staff employed by the NHS for mental wellbeing care and treatment. Many of these are doctors and clinicians. The UK relies on them for keeping the mental wellbeing of the nation fit and healthy.
The nation leans on its mental health doctors, physicians, and specialists. However, doctors experience an unsurmountable amount of mental and emotional stress those in other professions do not. It is a vocation that comes with a heavy weight of responsibility. As a doctor you’ll spend your life helping and healing. There’ll be times though when you may need the same support you’ve dedicated your life to giving others.
Don’t worry. If you’re going through one of those times there are places you can turn. You’re not alone.
Where can doctors turn when they’re the ones that need healing?
At Remedium we’re dedicated to the doctors we find permanent placements for in the UK. Not just as professionals, but as people. We want their healthcare careers in the UK to be fulfilling both with and without the stethescope. A big part of this for us is ensuring all doctors (not just those we place) have access to a network of resources they can turn to in times of need.
We have collated the following resource library for doctors, physicians, and healthcare professionals. It contains links to organisations dedicated to the mental wellbeing of those in the healthcare profession, as well as content we’ve made for our doctors out there on the frontlines.
Support & Resources
Mental Health organisations and support available
If you’re a doctor experiencing a dip in mental wellbeing you are not alone.
Studies suggest that as many as 85% of doctors suffer from mental health issues at some point in their career. This is shockingly high. The most common reasons are:
- Stress (75%)
- Anxiety (49%)
- Low self esteem (36%).
On top of this, up to a third experience depression during their career. As many as one in ten doctors experience suicidal thoughts or feelings. Crises in mental health amongst doctors aren’t just understandable, they’re commonplace.
More support is needed for doctors suffering from poor mental health. We at Remedium are taking active steps towards creating a stronger support network for doctors through initiatives like Healing our Healers.
Where to turn for help
Whilst there is much work to be done for the future, in the present there are several organisations and resources available. Here are some of the places you can turn to if you’re a doctor, clinician, or medical professional experiencing mental health difficulties:
Academy of Royal Medical Colleges
The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges has an extensive directory of mental health and wellbeing services for doctors in the UK, both NHS and Private.
The British Medical Association
The BMA’s wellbeing support services are available whether or not you’re a member. They offer a 24/7 telephone counselling service which is anonymous and confidential. They also have an extensive directory of support services freely available.
DocHealth is a joint RMBF and BMA initiative. It is a self-referral mental health service available to doctors UK wide. It is completely confidential and offers specialist-led support for stress-induced anxiety or depression.
Doctors Support Network
A self-help group run by doctors, for doctors. The Doctors Support network can offer support and advice for mental health concerns such as stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, and more. They hold regular UK meetings, a newsletter, and an email forum.
The General Medical Council
The GMC’s online guide, ‘your health matters’, is intended to provide information and support for doctors who may be unable to work for mental health reasons. They also have their own directory of specialist services.
NHS Practicioner Health Programme
The NHS Practicioner Health Programme is a confidential NHS service for doctors and dentists. This aware winning service provides support not only with mental health, but physical health and addiction.
Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
The RMBF is a charity for UK doctors, as well as their families and medical students. They provide advice, support, and information when it is most needed. This can include financial support during times of ill health or bereavement.
The Samaritans offer mental health support and a crisis helpline UK wide. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis The Samaritans are always available as a first step towards getting help.
Sick Doctors Trust
The Sick Doctors Trust is an early intervention and support service for doctors struggling with addiction. They are available to facilitate treatment, assist with funding, and can even provide advocacy and representation if needed.
- The BDDG (British Doctors & Dentists Group) provides a range of content and services. This includes a recovery group offering addiction support for drug and alcohol dependant doctors and dentists.
- The Louise Tebboth Foundation offers support for the emotional wellbeing of the families of doctors and medical practicioners lost to suicide.
- Duty to Care are an online service, covering costs and providing access to therapy and mental health treatment services for NHS staff.
- Frontline19 is a free and confidential service for doctors (and other healthcare professionals) working on the frontlines during the Covid19 pandemic.
The Remedium Cares Initiative
Healing our Healers series of Events
Whether in ICU or coordinating vaccinations, doctors have held the weight of the UK’s future on their shoulders. This burden has not come without cost. Levels of mental health and wellbeing crises amongst doctors of all levels are at record highs causing a Mental Health Crisis on the Frontline.
Recent studies show that as many as half of all intensive care unit staff display symptoms of PTSD, severe anxiety or depression, or problem drinking. It’s thought that up to a third of doctors experience some kind of mental health crisis during their careers. The number of GPs, specialist clinicians, and medical students suffering from work-induced mental illness will only have increased during the pandemic.
The Healing Our Healers initiative was started for precisely this reason. We recognise the immense sacrifice doctors and NHS healthcare professionals have made for the public. We’ll be providing talks, events and a hub for mental health resources that are by and for doctors.
As the vaccination program continues and restrictions start to ease, it’s important that the doctors who carried the UK to this point aren’t forgotten. The Healing Our Healers initiative aims to ensure that the mental wellbeing of our doctors remains part of our national conversation, and that doctors know that help is there for them when they need it.
Our first event at 8pm (BST) on Tuesday 6th July, 2021:
Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19 –
Practical tips to survive and thrive as a hospital doctor.