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    5 ways to improve physician mental health


    With a 2009 study arguing that questions on mental health actually violate the Americans with Disability Act,[3] as well as the surge in physician burnout and suicide, groups like the American Medical Association are urging state boards to focus mental health questions to only current impairment.[4]

    If you are in a state with more aggressive questions about mental health, you may be reluctant to see a psychologist using your insurance, and perhaps it makes sense to seek care in an anonymous fashion. Some doctors report doing this by seeking help in another town from where they live, using a pseudonym or paying cash to avoid a paper trail. 


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    Fortunately, there may be another option. Some county medical societies are now offering physician wellness programs that pair doctors with local psychologists to provide strictly confidential care. The Lane County Medical Society in Oregon was the first county medical society to create a physician wellness program in 2012. Its  goal is to help physicians “find the balance between the demands of their work and personal lives,”[5] and many other counties are following their lead, usually paying for a certain number of visits as a member benefit. 

    The common denominator of these programs is that they ensure complete confidentiality so that physicians don’t feel anxious about any type of stigma or adverse consequence to seeking help for mental stress.

    Check to see if your local medical society offers a physician wellness program, and if not, consider asking them to start one. Regardless of how you choose to get help, please remember that if you made it through college, through medical school, through residency—you are intelligent, you are hardworking, and you ARE resilient! But you are not perfect, and the stress that we face as physicians does take a toll on our psyche. Psychology can help.


    Rebekah Bernard MD
    Dr Bernard was a National Health Care Scholar and served at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Immokalee, Florida for six years ...


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    • Anonymous
      Ugh! In any other field, the advice would be: "Quit!". Why do we do what we do then need to go get psychological help for it. That's freaking mental! No one gives a damn about doctors, and the ABIM, ACP, AMA, AAFP, and ABFM, are all of the sudden, worried. They helped cause this. If you do not work at least 35 hours a week in clinical medicine (or 50-60 like many of us) I don't want your opinion.
    • [email protected]
      Cool Hand Luke Remember that scene between Luke and the Captain when after he hits Luke hard enough to knock him down the captain says, "What we got here is...failure to communicate". After receiving a letter from CMS that began "Dear doctor, you have qualified for a 1.5 percent reduction in CMS reimbursements because of your failure... After receiving another letter this past week that began in much the same way but stated that now you have qualified for a 2 percent reduction in your CMS reimbursements for 2018 beginning on January 1, 2018 until and including December 31, 2018 because of your failure... In William Shakespeare's famous and immortal play Julius Caesar Roman senator Cassius replies to Brutus saying "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves , that we are underlings". As in other human endeavors, we have allowed ourselves to be kowtowed repeatedly by a government whose desire is to control each and every one of us both patient and physician while they enjoy the spoils of victory for the rest of their natural lives and yet it is we who are driven to seek psychiatric care and psychological counseling for the difficulties we have adapting to this BRAVE NEW WORLD with the realization that the worst is yet to come. Ben Franklin so acerbically commented during the deliberations before the Declaration of Independence was adopted, If we don't hang together we will surely hang separately. The government will come after doctors one at a time until there are none left to make a difference anywhere in medicine

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