Monash Health is the largest public health service in Victoria, employing over 2,000 doctors. It is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of doctors, and firmly believes that a mentally healthy workplace leads to better patient outcomes.
In October 2014, the organisation launched Monash Care - the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Monash Doctors. Designed to create an actively caring work environment, it supports Monash doctors to thrive in their careers and personal lives.
The strategy provides a roadmap for Monash Health to support the mental health and wellbeing of doctors. Underpinned by the purpose that 'No Monash Doctor will struggle in silence', its five key goals are:
- Creating widespread awareness of mental health and wellbeing amongst medical staff.
- Creating a caring and supportive culture that prevents psychological distress in the workplace.
- Identifying and supporting doctors with mental health conditions.
- Building strategic partnerships to achieve workplace wellbeing.
- Support research to improve Monash's understanding of workplace wellbeing.
Download the Monash Care brochure
A number of initiatives have been developed to support these objectives, including:
Junior Medical Staff Peer Support Program: A program for junior medical staff (JMS) to receive support from a trained group of fellow JMS who volunteer their time.
Monash Doctors Wellbeing Officer: The Wellbeing Officer acts as an advocate for JMS and is an important contact for those JMS who may be experiencing workplace or other stressors. As someone who is independent of the recruitment and training process, doctors feel safe in raising health, personal, training or work related issues with them.
Junior Medical Staff Advisory Committee (JMSAC): The JMSAC has been established with the purpose of promoting the interests of JMS within Monash Health, ensuring they have ongoing and substantive input into organisational matters affecting their welfare, clinical work, education and training. JMSAC aims to facilitate, encourage and improve communication between JMS and other professional and management groups within Monash Health.
Perinatal Support Program: As well as raising awareness about perinatal emotional and mental health, this program supports male and female doctors to manage the demands of work and life during the perinatal period.
Intern Mentoring Program: This initiative aims to help navigate the exciting, yet at times confronting, transition from medical student to junior doctor. Intern mentors are volunteers from Monash Health's senior medical staff. Taking a special interest in the professional development of a junior doctor, they provide guidance and support.
Women in Medicine Program: The Women in Medicine initiative comprises a range of strategies aimed at building a culture of equal opportunity for all at Monash Health. This includes a leadership training program, as well as coaching and mentoring opportunities for female doctors.
Monash Care seeks to create an environment where talking about mental health and seeking support is seen as the normal thing to do. The launch of the Monash Care Strategy in October 2014 was used as a means to raise awareness and promote the new programs.
The launch was widely promoted through a specially developed brochure, email, newsletters, internet posters, and word-of-mouth communication. Local champions were used to spread the word at every opportunity, and senior medical staff support for the strategy was strongly communicated at the launch.
Over 200 doctors attended the launch, indicating that the awareness-raising campaign was successful.
A post-launch survey of attendees found:
- 66 per cent reported the launch raised awareness about where to go for help or to refer a colleague for support when experiencing psychological distress
- 78 per cent would be more inclined to seek support
- 52 per cent would be more likely to help a colleague or junior staff member in psychological distress.
Like to find out more?
If you've got any questions about Monash Care, please contact Dr. Anjali Dhulia, Director Medical Services, Monash Health: email@example.com