Health practitioner’s mental health – an MDO’s perspective
Last Modified on 09/12/2020 11:43 am AEDT
The warning signs...
Self prescribing and inappropriate use of medications
Practitioners with established mental health conditions
Poor performance or assessment
Being bullied or harassed (however appropriate performance management is not bullying or harassment)
Regular disputes with your colleagues
International healthcare graduates facing isolation, prejudice or cultural and communication issues.
many bad behaviours and co-morbidities begin whilst at medical school
a prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in final medical school year and can increase significantly during internship
psychiatric morbidity, substance abuse and relationship problems are common.
a higher depression rate than the general population, a small percentage of practitioners had suicidal ideations
Many doctors do not look after themselves - almost a third do not have a GP, roughly half write their own prescriptions and 30% have not seen a doctor for years
AHPRA have a number of reporting requirements surrounding impairment. These include self-reporting and mandatory reporting. The implications can be serious. Self-reporting impairment may minimise the consequences as it shows insight and a willingness to obtain help .
Never prescribe S8 drugs for yourself or family, always properly record and dispose of drugs
Develop a healthy work life balance - do not overdo either
Contact your MDO early with any issues - note MDO advisers are exempt from mandatory reporting to AHPRA
Show insight - reach out and seek out help, support and assistance. This is not a weakness and you will not be stigmatised. Get help from your GP, employee assistance programs, Beyondblue Mental Health Program for doctors, your State based doctors help programs and your MDO.
Supervision and dealing with bullying are both skills that need to be taught and learnt.
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