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eMH for doctors - Who helps the doctor while the doctor helps me?

10 March 2015 - Dr Jan Orman

It’s an old story rising up again. What do doctors do when they experience mental health problems?

The recent deaths of four young doctors in Victoria seems to indicate that as a community we are still not doing enough for our colleagues and as doctors we are still not able to do enough for ourselves. Mandatory reporting by treating doctors of all medical practitioners who are seen to be impaired by mental illness (in every state except Western Australia) may well add to the problem of doctors failing to seek help. Even if they are unwell but not impaired it is likely that medical practitioners will avoid seeking help for fear that they will be seen to be impaired.

Doctors, like their patients, become unwell with a wide range of mental health problems.  Some problems are related to the stresses of their work, some are related to the personality styles that helped them get to be doctors in the first place and some are just plain old biologically based problems that probably would have arisen whatever career path they had followed.

That being the case, many of the doctors suffering from mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress could benefit from some online help.

Using eMH self-help doesn’t involve seeing someone and worrying about being reported or confidentiality being breached, it doesn’t involve admitting to someone that you are human and do not know everything there is to know about mental health, it doesn’t interfere with work schedules and in most instances it doesn’t even cost anything.  As a bonus it involves learning things about mental health care and psychological interventions that may be worth passing on to patients as well.

Try it out – it might be a good place to start.

Dr Jan Orman
Dr Jan Orman

Jan is Sydney GP, private psychological medicine practitioner in Sydney’s inner west and a GP educator for Black Dog Institute.

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