Top 11 resources for doctors to get support for mental health problems
The medical profession is an always on profession. High pressure. High stress environment. A doctor’s capacity to provide high-quality care is significantly dependent on their own mental health and wellbeing. Identification and management of mental health issues are essential for the efficient running of healthcare systems as well as for the health of doctors themselves.
Whether you are a doctor yourself or a medical professional’s employer, it is crucial to encourage a welcoming workplace that prioritises mental health and provides the necessary tools.
At the bottom of this article you will find the links to the 25 resources we read in-depth to bring you a concise listicle article which provides 11 crucial resources that medical employers and physicians themselves may use to support and advance mental health in the field of medicine.
NHS England – NHS Practitioner Health
Within the NHS being a jewel in our crown globally (ask our friends in the US), there seems no better place to start than the NHS Practitioner Health. This is a free and private mental health treatment program for doctors in England who are struggling with addiction or mental illness. This is for those within the healthcare workforce who are struggling with addiction or mental health issues can use the service.
Here are some key details about NHS Practitioner Health:
- Accessible to physicians throughout England, as well as to medical professionals in Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
- The program is confidential, giving peace of mind to doctors who use it without worrying about being judged or stigmatised.
- Expertise is key here. NHS Practitioner Health has experience treating doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals and can offer prompt and thorough medical care.
We really feel NHS Practitioner Health is a valuable resource for medical professionals who are having issues with their mental health or addiction. The support is offered without charge, in confidence, and by specialists who are committed to assisting healthcare workers in receiving the assistance they require.
At Gallantium, we pride ourselves on providing education and awareness content that helps employers to manage doctors mental health conditions in the workplace. Our unique approach involves delivering a monthly support package that focuses on a new workplace mental health topic on the first day of each month. We create a comprehensive understanding of the topic through featured presentations, dramatised case studies, podcasts, written support guides, top support tips videos, and exclusive articles.
Our resources are designed to drive knowledge transfer and behavioural change. Our team of experts works in the field of workplace mental health and helps to create our content. The content has been created to be engaging and accessible for employees, and to suit a range of different learning styles. We fervently believe in providing practical solutions to help employers manage mental health issues before they become unmanageable.
Our rolling monthly delivery approach helps employers to demonstrate care and support for good mental health management at all times. It keeps mental health at the top of the agenda, and managers and employees receive the support and knowledge needed to create a permanently safe and healthy workplace environment.
Health Education England Professional Support Unit
Health Education England (HEE) Professional Support Unit (PSU) is a free service that primarily supports the progression of postgraduate training for NHS healthcare professionals. While HEE PSU does not offer mental health support for doctors directly, they do offer SuppoRTT, which is a program designed to support trainees who are returning to work after taking time off. SuppoRTT offers a wide range of learning and support resources to help trainees have a safe and supported return to work.
The GMC and doctor mental health support
The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent institution that sets standards for medical students and practitioners in order to protect patients and enhance medical practice and education in the UK. We acknowledge that the GMC does not actively provide help for doctors’ mental health, we feel they are too important to not include on the list as they do acknowledge the significance of doctors’ health and welfare and have produced guidelines on treating doctors and patients.
Key points from GMC include:
- The GMC has done a fantastic job in publishing guidance on caring for doctors and patients, which includes information on the importance of doctors’ health and wellbeing.
- With us all consuming information in differing ways, the GMC does well to offer a range of resources to support doctors’ wellbeing, including coaching, bereavement care, mental health support, and financial help.
- The Good Medical Practice guidance from GMC outlines the key duties that doctors have, including the duty to take care of their own health and wellbeing, bringing home the importance well.
Professional support units for doctors with mental health concerns
The Professional Support Units (PSUs) are services that provide developmental support to clinicians across London in all career grades and specialties, to sustain and restore them to effective clinical practice. The PSUs are coordinated through Health Education England (HEE) and offer a range of professional support resources to postgraduate medical and dental trainees. These resources cover all aspects of professional support, including wellbeing, remediation, and revalidation.
Here are some key details about Professional Support Units:
- The PSUs are coordinated through HEE and are available to clinicians across London in all career grades and specialties.
- The PSUs offer a range of professional support resources to postgraduate medical and dental trainees, including coaching, mentoring, and wellbeing support.
- SuppoRTT is a program developed by HEE to support trainees who are returning to work after taking time off. The program offers a wide range of learning and support resources to help trainees have a safe and supported return to work.
Overall, the PSUs are an important resource for clinicians across London who need support to sustain and restore them to effective clinical practice. The PSUs offer a range of professional support resources to postgraduate medical and dental trainees, including wellbeing support, coaching, and mentoring.
Support 4 Doctors – now hosted by the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
Confidentiality is clearly an ongoing theme, and Support 4 Doctors meets this requirement well too. Confidential support to doctors and their families in times of crisis is their main focus. The service is now hosted by the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF) as well, which is a charity that helps doctors, medical students, and their families in times of need. The RMBF has a great diversity of offerings. Think financial support, money advice, and other forms of assistance to doctors who are experiencing ill health, injury, disability, bereavement, or who are beyond state retirement age.
Digging into a few of their key deliverables:
- The RMBF provides financial support, money advice, and other forms of assistance to doctors who are experiencing ill health, injury, disability, bereavement, or who are beyond state retirement age. The charity also offers peer support for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns, via mail forums and social events.
- The RMBF works in partnership with other organisations to provide support to doctors and their families. For example, the MDU’s foundation year one members (FY1) have raised over £30,000 for the RMBF and the Doctors’ Support Network (more to come on this).
Support 4 Doctors is an important resource for doctors and their families who are experiencing crisis situations.
BMA FREE (forum for racial and ethnic equality)
Diverse backgrounds had been calling out for more support for doctors and medical students from diverse backgrounds. This led to the commencement of BMA FREE (Forum for Racial and Ethnic Equality). It’s a national forum, and we understand it exists to dig into and highlight relevant issues and experiences faced by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) doctors and medical students.
What you should know on this:
- Focus is on promoting racial equality and equity in the medical profession, and to provide a platform for BAME doctors and medical students to share their experiences and perspectives.
- BMA FREE does a lot in their commitment to support its objectives, including hosting events, producing reports and guidance, and generally advocating for change within the medical profession.
- BMA FREE works in partnership with other organisations, such as the General Medical Council’s (mentioned above) Black and Minority Ethnic Doctors Forum, to promote racial equality and equity in the medical profession.
BMA Wellbeing Support Services
Sticking with the British Medical Association, they offer the BMA Wellbeing Support Services. As the name states, they are here to support the wellbeing of doctors and medical students.
Here are some key details about BMA Wellbeing Support Services:
- What do you get? Well we found a range of resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students, including a free and confidential 24/7 counselling line as well as a peer support service.
- We think one element that is great is the counselling line and peer support service are completely confidential, and are open to all doctors and medical students, and that is regardless of BMA membership.
Doctor Support Service
Doctor Support Service is a service that offers support to all doctors, regardless of their specialty or career stage. The service provides confidential support to doctors who are experiencing personal or professional difficulties, including mental health issues, addiction, and financial problems. Another good one for partnerships, Doctor Support Service works in partnership with other organisations, such as the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, to provide support to doctors who are experiencing personal or professional difficulties.
Doctors’ Support Network
The Doctors’ Support Network (DSN), logo above, has registered themselves as a UK charity. In their filing they declare that they provide confidential peer support for UK-based doctors and medical students with mental health concerns or issues..
Here’s what we found:
- The objective of the DSN is to provide confidential peer support. They do this for UK-based doctors and medical students with mental health concerns.
- The DSN provides peer support via email forums and support groups. Aims are to raise awareness of mental health issues among doctors. The organisation also provides confidential psychotherapeutic consultation services for doctors. As well as support groups for medical professionals facing suspension, exclusion, investigation of complaints, or allegations of professional misconduct.
- The DSN’s peer support services are confidential and accessible. This is for UK-based doctors and medical students with mental health concerns.
- The DSN works in partnership with other organisations, such as DocHealth, which provides specialist psychotherapeutic services for doctors and is supported by the British Medical Association and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund.
Sick Doctors Trust
The Sick Doctors Trust is a UK-based charity that provides support to doctors, dentists, and medical students who are experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Here are some key details about The Sick Doctors Trust:
- We included them on the list due to the damaging impact on mental health suffering from dependence on drugs or alcohol. Their main goal is to provide support and help for doctors, dentists, and medical students in this unfortunate position.
- Whilst it has ‘doctors’ in the name, of note is the Sick Doctors Trust is available to doctors, dentists, and medical students across the UK, and that is by phone or email.
- What we like about the Sick Doctors Trust is that they commit to partnerships, notably the before-mentioned Doctors’ Support Network. The goal here of course is to provide support to doctors who are experiencing addiction or mental health issues.
- NHS Practitioner Health
- Accessing The Service: Doctors and Dentists – Practitioner Health
- NHS Practitioner Health – Staff Support Hub
- PHP and OH – NHS Health at Work Network
- Practitioner Health
- SuppoRTT | Health Education England
- GMC: Home
- Good medical practice – professional standards – GMC
- What we do and why – GMC
- [PDF] Caring for doctors Caring for patients – GMC
- Wellbeing resources for doctors – GMC
- The duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council – GMC
- Doctor to Doctor – MDDUS
- Doctors’ health and wellbeing: sources of support – The MDU
- Press release – Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
- Your wellbeing – British Medical Association
- Alternative Support – Cleveland LMC
- BMA Wellbeing Support Services: Counselling | Peer Support
- MDU initiative sees foundation doctor members raise over £30000 for charity partners
- The Doctors’ Support Network – Home page
- [PDF] Doctors’ Support
- Sources of support for your wellbeing – British Medical Association
- Support for doctors with mental health problems
- The Sick Doctors Trust – Lantum Blog
- Doctors as Patients