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    To give care to others, physicians shouldn’t be afraid to get help

     

    But that fear was clearly present among the thousands of physicians in the study who said they would not just avoid disclosing counseling, but not even seek it out. That is troubling.

     

    RELATED READING: It's time PCPs say enough is enough

     

    Many professional medical conferences feature standing-room only sessions on physician wellness and improving work-life balance. These are people who just want a little help with the daily stress of working in healthcare.

    The last thing doctors need is yet another hurdle in seeking professional and personal satisfaction. They should not have anxiety about disclosing assistance while they work tirelessly to improve the health of others who rely on them for guidance and hope.

    I’d call on medical societies, beginning with the American Medical Association and down to each individual specialty group, to work with states to take questions about mental health treatment off licensing documents. Furthermore, I’d implore them to work with state medical boards to see how they can truly help doctors instead of further alienating them.

    These are strange and scary times in healthcare. We need to reduce the legal and professional barriers that stand in the way of  physicians the help they need to remain our healers rather than continuing to drive them away from medicine. 

     

    Keith L. Martin is editorial director for Medical Economics. Do you think states should ask physicians about past mental health counseling? Tell us at [email protected]

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