I need support


The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days — free for Fellows and trainees.

The Doctors' Health Advisory Service has dedicated helplines for medical practitioners and trainees in each Australian state and in New Zealand.

The wellbeing challenge

Wellbeing goes beyond the absence of distress. It includes feeling challenged, thriving and achieving success in various aspects of personal and professional life.

If you struggle with these issues, you are not alone. Doctors are at greater risk of issues associated with wellbeing than other professions, and stigma prevents many from accessing the support they need.

You may fear of appearing weak or incompetent but studies show seeking help actually increases resilience, performance and career longevity. It is in your own best interests to look after your mental health.

Those at highest risk

Medical professionals are at a higher risk of having mental health issue than other professionals, and within this group the most vulnerable are:

  • trainees
  • female doctors
  • rural and remote doctors
  • indigenous doctors
  • oversees doctors seeking local registration
  • doctors involved in medico-legal proceedings.

Trainee support

Maintaining balance while juggling your training commitments and personal life can be challenging. It’s not uncommon for trainees to need some additional support to keep their training on track.

Difficulty with your training program? Find more about the training support process and resources for trainees.

Difficulty with a colleague? Deciding what to do to resolve a difficulty with a colleague can be difficult. The Decision Tree may help as you consider your options.

Difficulty with your health and wellbeing? The College has a flexible training policy which takes into consideration personal circumstances and can include taking a break from training for a 12 month period.

The College works closely with trainees, supervisors and College committees to coordinate additional support for trainees experiencing training challenges to keep their training on track. 

Recognise warning signs in yourself (and others)

  • Feeling the need to put on a brave face,
  • Struggling at work, or feeling overwhelmed,
  • Poor concentration.
  • Inability to make decisions.
  • Disappearing while on shift.
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Poor attention to physical appearance.
  • Loss of energy.
  • May lack insight.
  • Low moods, increased anxiety or irritability.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Colleagues raising concerns.

Strategies for self-care

Making time for self-care does not always come naturally for fast-paced, goal-driven physicians. Determining what self-care practices work for you and incorporating them into your life takes thought.

Strategy ideas

At work

Set-up formal professional support (e.g. mentoring, structured peer groups)

 

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Always take a lunch break, no matter how busy you are

 

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Do some exercise or get some fresh air during your lunch break

 

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Plan to take your leave: organise holidays well ahead of time, so you have something to look forward to

 

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Outside of work

Have your own general practitioner

 

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Have personal as well as professional goals

 

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Humour is therapeutic: surround yourself with fun and humour daily

 

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Identify your life philosophy and live it

 

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The Physician Self-care and Wellbeing eLearning resource helps physicians adopt pro-active strategies so they can aim to thrive in their work, and help others to do the same.

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