Promoting the mental health of health professionals
Evidence suggests health professionals are at greater risk of experiencing anxiety and depression, and suicide. Risk factors in the workplace include heavy workloads, long working hours, shift work, bullying, harassment, occupational violence, and home-work stress.
beyondblue's landmark National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students, released in October 2013, identified some of the mental health challenges facing the medical profession.
Download the survey report
Poor mental health among health professionals has far-reaching effects. As well as the personal impact for the individual and those close to them, colleagues, patients and health services can also be affected. Promoting good mental health in our health services in strongly in the interests of both the health profession and the broader Australian community.
Diana shares her experience of depression while working long hours as an anaesthetist.
Creating a mentally healthy health service
There are a number of benefits for health services that focus on creating mentally healthy workplaces. Research suggests that:
- Patient experiences are better when staff feel they have a good working environment, low emotional exhaustion, and support from their co-workers and manager.
- Workplaces will, on average, receive a positive return on investment of $2.30 for every $1 spent on creating a mentally healthy workplace.
- Employers who sustain a 'great place to work' attract and keep the best workers.
- When staff are engaged, they are more willing to extend an extra hand or discretionary effort to assist others. The result is improved performance, productivity and quality.
Discover more about the benefits of creating a mentally healthy workplace in your health service.
There are practical actions every health service can take to create a mentally healthy workplace. Given the unique nature of the work environment in health service, beyondblue is developing a practical, step-by-step guide for health services on how to develop and implement a tailored mental health and wellbeing strategy for their staff.
The development of this resource has been informed by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from health services across metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria. beyondblue has also consulted widely with representatives from other health services, unions, professional associations, employer bodies, regulators, government, national industry peak bodies and academics in the area of workplace mental health.
The guide will be made freely available to download or order from our Heads Up catalogue after its official launch in late August 2017.
Learn more about creating mentally healthy workplaces.
Find out more about Monash Care - The Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy for Monash Doctors including challenges, benefits and outcomes.
Discover how Monash Health approached the initiative, and how you could apply similar principles to your health service.
What is your health service doing?
Are you implementing a mental health and wellbeing strategy in your health service? Or perhaps you already have existing programs and initiatives in place. If so, we want to hear from you! Sharing your experiences in creating a mentally healthy workplace may help others with their approach or encourage them to take action.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about your programs, what you've learnt, and any gaps we can help with. We can also help you with workplace training or any specific queries you have about workplace mental health.