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Br J Gen Pract. 2017 Oct;67(663):e700-e708. doi: 10.3399/bjgp17X692573. Epub 2017 Sep 11.

Barriers, facilitators, and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
Centre for Academic Primary Care.
2
Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, UCL, London.
3
Research Institute, Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire.
4
Practitioner Health Programme, Riverside Medical Centre, London.
5
Upstream Health Convener, Action for NHS Wellbeing Chair Mental Health Group, College of Medicine, London.
6
Faculty of Health Sciences.
7
Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol, Bristol.
8
Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

GPs are under increasing pressure due to a lack of resources, a diminishing workforce, and rising patient demand. As a result, they may feel stressed, burnt out, anxious, or depressed.

AIM:

To establish what might help or hinder GPs experiencing mental distress as they consider seeking help for their symptoms, and to explore potential survival strategies.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

The authors recruited 47 GP participants via e-mails to doctors attending a specialist service, adverts to local medical committees (LMCs) nationally and in GP publications, social media, and snowballing. Participants self-identified as either currently living with mental distress, returning to work following treatment, off sick or retired early as a result of mental distress, or without experience of mental distress. Interviews were conducted face to face or over the telephone.

METHOD:

Transcripts were uploaded to NVivo 11 and analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS:

Barriers and facilitators were related to work, stigma, and symptoms. Specifically, GPs discussed feeling a need to attend work, the stigma surrounding mental ill health, and issues around time, confidentiality, and privacy. Participants also reported difficulties accessing good-quality treatment. GPs also talked about cutting down or varying work content, or asserting boundaries to protect themselves.

CONCLUSION:

Systemic changes, such as further information about specialist services designed to help GPs, are needed to support individual GPs and protect the profession from further damage.

KEYWORDS:

anxiety; burnout, professional; depression; general practice; mental health services; self-care

PMID:
28893766
PMCID:
PMC5604834
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp17X692573
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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