🗒 Mental Health & Wellbeing

Beware of these 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

Key messages

  • Many bad behaviours and co morbidities begin whilst at medical school
  • Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity is 26% in final medical school year and increases during internship
  • Psychiatric morbidity, substance abuse and relationship problems are common for health practitioners
  • Surveys reveal a higher depression rate than the general population, 10% of practitioners had suicidal ideations
  • Many doctors’ do not look after themselves – 40% do not have a GP, 50% write their own prescriptions and 30% have not seen a doctors for years
  • AHPRA has 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

Strategies

  • Never prescribe S8 drugs for yourself or family, see your GP. Always properly record and dispose of drugs
  • Develop a healthy work life balance – do not overdo either
  • Contact your medical defence organisation ( MDOs) early with any issues – note MDO advisers (eg MIPS clinico-legal adviser) 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 program and your MDO.
  • Supervision and dealing with bullying are both skills that need to be taught and learnt

When in doubt

Contact MIPS’ 24 hour Clinico-Legal Support.


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