Doctors working in an unsiege health system say the pandemic exacerbated one major problem. And the solution is complicated.
Doctors working in Australia’s low-pressure health system say the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health challenges that some of its colleagues were already struggling to manage.
The risk of taking the virus home, worrying about jeopardizing the care of non-Covid patients, and missing important training opportunities are one of the problems doctors face when fighting the virus at the forefront. ..
A recent review by the Black Dog Institute and the University of New South Wales LancetFound doctors at high risk of suicide, and early in training, one-quarter to one-third reported serious mental illness.
Professor Samuel Harvey, the lead author of the review, said mental health problems were already on the rise in Australian healthcare professionals and were exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Several reasons are clear. Working in medicine can be difficult. Time can be long and can be very stressful, but that’s always the case,” he said. rice field.
“What seems to change over time is the gradual erosion of many of the factors used to protect doctors.”
Professor Harvey, who runs the Black Dog Institute and the UNSW Workplace Mental Health Research Program, said junior doctors are at particular risk.
“For exams, all of our regular training and career advancement has been interrupted. All support networks have been interrupted,” he said.
“We are worried about junior doctors working in some of the hardest hit areas.”
In New South Wales, 1231 Covid cases are currently admitted to the hospital, 231 are in the intensive care unit, and 108 of them require ventilation.
Modeling by an independent Burnett Institute predicts that hospitalizations will peak in New South Wales in late October, putting “overwhelming” pressure on intensive care.
Senior medical students are being hired as medical assistants as part of a rapidly growing workforce to fight Covid-19 in state hospitals.
Sophie Keane, president of the Australian Medical Students’ Association, said residents are excited to contribute, but many doctors are suffering from social disruptions and educational turmoil.
She hesitates to ask junior doctors for help for the stigma, even though doctors under the age of 30 have very high levels of psychological distress almost 12 times higher than other Australian professionals. He said he was.
“”[They] They are afraid to go to their GP because they are afraid to be reported. They don’t want to present it to the emergency department because they’re worried they’ll be recognized, you have few options left, “she said.
Keane said the university should be positioned as a place for early recognition and affordable early treatment of mental illness.
She said she needed help from the entire medical community to tackle “a systemic problem that amplifies pain.”
“No medical student has ever experienced bullying, discrimination or harassment. For indigenous medical students, statistics are most experienced at least once a week,” she said.
“Your career progress can depend entirely on how others perceive you. You are a difficult person, a complainer, or just a member of a men’s club. Your career is at stake if you are perceived as someone who cannot become.
“What do they think if you reveal that I haven’t dealt with? If they already have these judgments and prejudices about me and people like me, I’ll tell them Can’t give anything else. “
John Wilson, president of the Royal Australasian Medical School, said junior doctors are missing out on professional development opportunities because of Covid in a highly competitive profession.
He said it was stressful for physicians to be unable to provide the highest quality clinical care at any stage of their career due to pandemic pressures, including reductions in selective surgery.
“We need to think seriously about how healthcare professionals access care for themselves and their families. You might think that no one has more psychological support than a doctor.” He said.
“There are stigma risks, evasive issues with a careless approach from colleagues, and future uncertainties when seeking help due to psychological distress.”
Karen Price, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said burnout was a serious consideration for practitioners during the pandemic.
“It’s a pretty difficult phone [to say what should be done] But people need rest, certainty, and make sure their work is valued, “she said.
Black Dog and UNSW have worked with the federal government to create new, free, anonymous mental health services for all healthcare professionals, including doctors, including: Essential network.