What we know about doctors' mental health
Doctors experience a range of risk factors for anxiety and depression including heavy workloads, long working hours, shift work, work-effort imbalance, abuse/mistreatment from patients, and home-work stress.
In February/March 2013, beyondblue and its key partners conducted a national survey of more than 14,000 Australian medical students and doctors. A world-first in terms of scale and scope, the National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students identified some of the mental health challenges facing the medical community.
Key findings include:
- One in five medical students and one in 10 doctors had suicidal thoughts in the past year.
- 3.4 per cent of doctors are experiencing very high psychological distress, much greater than the wider community figure of 2.6%.
- Young doctors work longer hours, are far more psychologically distressed, think about suicide more and are more burnt-out than their older colleagues.
- Stigma is a major factor – almost half of respondents think doctors are less likely to appoint doctors with a history of depression or anxiety.
- Doctors are resilient and are often able to limit any negative personal and professional impact of poor mental health.
Download the executive summary or full report
Mental health conditions cost Australian employers $10.9 billion annually through absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims.
Research by PwC has shown that every dollar spent creating a mentally healthy workplace will, on average, have a positive return on investment of $2.30.