Mental health and well-being are taboo subjects for medical students and doctors, and something which is often not talked about enough. This is surprising, considering there is a higher proportion of doctors reporting stress and burnout compared to other sectors in the general population! According to the BMA in 2022, up to 39% of junior doctors experienced a severe level of stress and burnout due to their work, a figure which is increasing each year. Even with the growing availability of support networks such as Practitioner Health and the BMA Counselling Service, a lot of doctors are either not aware of these or fail to speak up for fear of judgment from their peers or even supervisors.
Some common culprits of stress and burnout
- Intense rota – doctors will often work over the European Working Directive of 40 hours per week, a policy they typically sign out of at the start of their contract.
- Working unsociable hours – doctors often work weekends, evenings and nights.
- Understaffing – this can place higher pressure on each member of the team and may mean working late.
- Portfolio building – this is usually required to progress to the next stage of training and can be very competitive depending on what you want to specialise in!
- Constantly moving around – whilst having a preference for where they want to work, it doesn’t always go as planned and some junior doctors might need to move around frequently.
- Imposter syndrome – it’s unfortunately a common occurrence that doctors feel ‘inadequate’ and that they aren’t good enough at their job.
What help is available?
- Practitioner Health – a service specifically aimed at doctors, medical students and dentists providing talking therapies. It often has a shorter waiting list than accessing similar services through your GP.
- Doctors in Distress – a charity that helps doctors with mental health issues through talking therapy and support groups.
- Royal Medical Benevolent Fund – a service that provides wellbeing or financial support to doctors, medical students and their families.
- BMA Counselling Service – free 24/7 counselling line and peer support service.
Mind The Bleep: The Podcast
Here at Mind The Bleep, we really want to help support the students and doctors who use our resources, so we will be releasing some new well-being content over the coming months! Below you can find some links to relevant pages or groups, and also a link to the brand-new Mind The Bleep Podcast! The first episode speaks to the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF) to find out what kind of financial support they can offer medical students and doctors in the UK. Listen to it here on Spotify: Mind The Bleep: The Podcast
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