Let's talk about wellbeing
1 in 5 Australians and 1 in 6 New Zealanders will experience a mental health condition at one point in their life, and physicians are no exception.
Studies show that doctors are more hesitant to access support services than the average person due to a fear of appearing weak or incompetent. RACP members have shared with us their personal mental health journeys in hopes of reducing the stigma.
It's a story that is one of the hardest to tell. But as this physician shares, mental illness in doctors is more common than you’d think.
By all accounts he is a success in his field, a well-known and respected senior Fellow who cares deeply about medicine and his patients. But at different times in his career he’s also been challenged by, and successfully managed, depression.
It was a realisation that began with the smallest of signs. “I was about to start work on a nightshift in the ED as an intern,” says the trainee, “I’d eaten well and thought I’d rested enough but as I was taking the handover briefing from the registrar my hand suddenly stopped working.”
Would you like to tell your story? Sharing with others may help them on their journey.
Vulnerability and growth
Dr Adam B. Hill suggests in The New England Journal of Medicine that setbacks can breed creativity, innovation, discovery, and resilience. He says that vulnerability opens us up to personal growth.
"Being honest with myself about my own vulnerability has helped me develop self-compassion and understanding".
He states up front: “I have a history of depression and suicidal ideation and am a recovering alcoholic.”
Read Breaking the Stigma — A Physician’s Perspective on Self-Care and Recovery.