I need support

Need to talk?

If you wish to speak to a trained counsellor, call the Converge International counselling service — a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days — free for Fellows and trainees.

  • 1300 687 327 (Australia), or
  • 0800 666 367 (New Zealand).

Find out more about the RACP Support Program

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.

Resources for our members

RACP Support Program

If you wish to speak to a trained counsellor, call the Converge International counselling service — a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days — free for Fellows and trainees.

Find out more about the RACP Support Program

eLearning modules

The RACP is dedicated to delivering quality online education. The following online resources are on wellbeing and professional behaviour.

Module: Physical Self-Care and Wellbeing, ​topics include:

  • reversing the stigma
  • signs of burnout
  • connecting with a struggling colleague
  • minimising workplace stressors
  • the role of organisations in reducing workplace burnout
  • self-compassion and self-care strategies.
Module: Creating a safe workplace:Responding to bullying and harassment, topics include:
  • behavioral spectrum
  • strategies to combat workplace bullying
  • bystanders
  • using resilience to cope.
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Trainee support

Female doctor holding head in hands distressed, in hospital corridor

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 College’s support process in  in Training Support for Trainees

Difficulty with a colleague? Deciding what to do to resolve a difficulty with a colleague can be difficult. The Decision Tree (PDF 420KB) may help as you consider your options.

Difficulty with your health and wellbeing? The College has a flexible training policy (PDF 200KB) which takes into consideration personal circumstances and can include taking a break from training for a 12 month period (​see point 5 in PDF).

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.

Find more about training support for trainees.

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.

 

Other resources

Apart from members-only RACP support program for Fellows and trainees, you will find many employers also have an Employee Assistance Program, and we recommend you contact the human resources department in your workplace for details.

The Doctors’ Health Advisory Service has dedicated helplines for medical practitioners and trainees in each Australian state and in New Zealand. Visit dhas.org.au for a phone number in your region.

Resources page - find a list of useful websites.

Members' stories - let’s talk about mental wellbeing

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