#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Why #Doctors Don’t Seek #MentalHealth Help

stressed medical professional.png

Medical professionals are superheroes whose stressful routine distracts them from addressing their own well-being.

#Mentalhealth is a key factor in determining one’s overall health condition. Staying mentally healthy is essential for everyone and is a vital criterion for #doctors. Very often we tend to think that #doctors have it all together and need little to very less support.  

Related: The weight of men’s #mentalhealth

However, medical professionals are continually exposed to heavy workloads, traumatic conditions, erratic working hours, and challenging situations. Yet, seeking help for #mentalhealth might be the last thing most #doctors have on their to-do lists.  

It does not take too long for medical professionals to feel burnt out in life. A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 showed a burnout rate of 4.3 to 55.3 per cent in the first post-graduate year of training, commonly known as the “intern” year. Emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and a sense of decreased personal accomplishment were some of the common traits associated with #students within the first year.  

Related: #Mentalhealth: an urgent priority for Africa

The #American College of Emergency #Physicians cited a recent article published in The Atlantic, revealing that 300 to 400 #physicians die by #suicide each year. The study also revealed that #suicide rates were 250 to 400 per cent higher among #female #physicians when compared to #females in other professions.  

Another study conducted by Medscape on #Physician #Suicide in 2022 revealed that 11 per cent of #female #doctors and nine per cent of #male #doctors have had #suicidalthoughts. Besides, 64 per cent of #doctors experienced colloquial #depression.  

Dr. Shaju George, Specialist #Psychiatrist at the Dubai Community Health Centre, said that #doctors lead a very stressful lifestyle. Therefore, they are unaware or at times even ignorant of #mentalhealthissues.  

“#Suicide rates are the highest among #doctor groups- especially surgeons, #psychiatrists, and critical care experts. #Depression, #anxietydisorders, hypertension, diabetes, and heart attack are also common- among #physicians. However, seeking help is minimal,” said Dr. George.  

He added that awareness-building sessions among #doctors could help bridge the gap and reduce the taboo and #stigma associated with seeking help for #mentalhealth.  

#Physicians are often looked upon as superheroes who seldom need any help. We look up to #doctors to solve our woes, and often think they are strong and capable of anything. And this is just what makes it hard for #doctors to realise they need help and take time away for their #mental well-being.  

It is time to normalise #physicians seeking #mental help. But, how can this be achieved? Here are some ways healthcare providers could change the game for #physicians that need #mental help.  

#James Donaldson notes:
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,
From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy


Encourage a safe space for expression 

As #doctors, it is natural to feel stressed or burnout. But, brushing aside the feeling and trying to keep it all together might not help always. Instead, it is best to speak up. Confide in a trusted colleague, friend, or a family member. Dr. George stressed that hospitals and clinics should initiate regular check-ins with their #physicians. Wellness programmes can be made a part of hospitals so that #doctors have immediate help on hand and do not have to shy away from seeking help.  

Evaluate workloads 

#Physicians tend to take on more work and feel burnt out. As an immediate measure, healthcare employers should weigh the workload given to their professionals and set achievable goals. The conversation here must not be whether a #physician can take #stress or not, rather it must redefine workloads, and ensure #doctors are not overburdened with responsibilities.  

“Hospitals should conduct regular surveys and screenings anonymously?to understand what #doctors go through. This would help them diagnose #stress level and also analyse the severity”, Dr. George added. 

Maintain confidentiality  

#Patients view #physicians as healers or icons of good health. So, while #mentalhealth may be a topic that should be openly discussed, this may not be an ideal solution for a #physician as it could affect their careers. Hospitals must ensure that utmost privacy is provided to protect those who seek help for #mentalhealth reasons.  


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Get new posts by email:
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me
Fb messenger