Physician Health and Wellbeing

I need support

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Support a colleague or trainee

Support a colleagueHelping a colleague or friend is a skill that requires active and mindful attention

Looking for resources

Looking for resources Resources provided by the College, and external resources. 

Members' stories

Member's storiesMembers share their stories of wellbeing.

The wellbeing of doctors

As doctors, our career is all about improving the health of others — but sometimes this can come at the cost of looking after our own.

Being healthy means more than just the absence of ill-health. It encompasses mental, physical and social wellbeing, and it enables us to practice effectively throughout our careers — including during our training.

While doctors are less likely to suffer from lifestyle related illnesses linked to smoking, diet or exercise, they are more vulnerable to mental health and wellbeing issues compared to the general population.  

In Australia, doctors report substantially higher rates of attempted suicide and suicide compared to other professionals, with suicide more common in female doctors. Help us turn this around.

I need support, I want to support a colleague or I'm looking for resources

The College’s position

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians believes that improving the health and wellbeing of medical professionals requires the cooperation of government, employers, colleges, regulators, doctors’ health services, senior leaders, supervisors, colleagues and doctors themselves.

While we have a shared responsibility for doctors’ health, it is essential for doctors to take care of their own health, for their benefit and for the benefit of their families, their patients and the healthcare system.

We have begun to form a coalition of partners across the sector that will focus on systemic issues.

Read the Health of Doctors Position Statement 2017 (PDF 0.7MB)
Doctors' Health and Wellbeing FAQ
Download Respectful behaviour in College training programs (PDF 0.3MB)

On professional behaviour

View our short video 'Statement on Professional Behaviours'.

Resources for our members

RACP Support Program

Confidential, 24-hour, seven-days-per-week helpline for members, run by our partner Converge International and independent. Find out more about the RACP Support Program

Trainee support

To find and access support for trainees, supervisors and committees, go Training Support

eLearning modules

We offer members online learning resources to help practice self-care and build resilience.

Login to eLearning (these courses can earn CPD credits)

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What you can do

We encourage all doctors to see their general practitioner on a regular basis. Every doctor should have a General Practitioner (GP) who they see routinely. A GP can assist in general health maintenance, including physical and mental wellbeing. Physicians should never self-diagnose or self-prescribe.

We also urge you to monitor your own physical and emotional wellbeing, and to seek early assistance if you have any concerns or experience significant stress.

I need support

Caring for other doctors requires sensitivity. We encourage doctors to provide support and assistance to colleagues — including trainees — in a compassionate and confidential manner. 

I want to support a colleague

About mandatory notification

There is some understandable confusion and speculation around the rules of mandatory notification, resulting in reluctance on the part of distressed doctors to seek assistance for personal issues because of fears it may have a career impact.

See the National Boards and APRHA guidelines for specific guidance.

"We know mental health problems need to be dealt with earlier rather than later. I’d certainly encourage Fellows, trainees and other medical professionals to seek advice and support from mentors, supervisors or from the relevant Doctors’ Health Advisory Service.”  

Professor Richard Doherty, 
Dean of the RACP 

"While Australia’s health ministers consider whether to change the law about mandatory reporting, it is important that all doctors realise that the threshold for requiring a mandatory report is high, only reached when an impaired doctor is placing the public at risk of substantial harm. This should not deter us from seeking help and support when we need it."

Dr Joanna Flynn AM,
Chair, Medical Board of Australia

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