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J Ment Health. 2011 Apr;20(2):146-56. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2010.541300. Epub 2011 Jan 28.

Review of literature on the mental health of doctors: are specialist services needed?

Author information

1
Academic Department of Psychological Medicine, Weston Education Centre, King's College London, London SE5 9RJ, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mental ill health is common among doctors. Fast, efficient diagnosis and treatment are needed as mentally ill doctors pose a safety risk to the public, yet they are often reluctant to seek help.

AIMS:

To review literature regarding risk factors and potential barriers to help-seeking unique to doctors; to consider the success of interventions by specialist services for doctors.

METHOD:

Key phrases regarding the 'mental health of doctors' were entered into internet searches and journal databases to identify relevant research. When key authors were identified, author-specific searches were carried out.

FINDINGS:

There are contradictory reports about the prevalence of mental ill health in doctors but it is generally agreed that doctors face a large number of risk factors, both occupational and individual; and help-seeking is difficult due to complexities surrounding a doctor becoming a patient. Specialist services developed specifically for interventions for doctors with mental health problems tend to show promising results but further research is needed.

CONCLUSIONS:

The unique and complex situation of a doctor becoming a patient benefits from specialist services; such services should focus on early intervention and raising awareness.

PMID:
21275504
DOI:
10.3109/09638237.2010.541300
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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