Medical Professionals’ Mental Health

Around the world, there is growing awareness and understanding of mental health concerns, which makes it so much easier for people to seek help. However, mental illness is still a difficult and complex issue for those in the medical profession. Quite often it remains a taboo topic and, as a result, many are reluctant to disclose their difficulties or seek help. For some professionals, there is a perception that they have “failed to cope” when experiencing mental health problems.

Yet, anyone can experience mental health challenges at some point, and medical professionals are no different.

In addition, the nature of the work of the medical profession may increase their vulnerability to mental health challenges. Many professionals are at risk of burnout and work-related stress for reasons including:

While some people may feel reluctant to seek help, it’s important to remember that attitudes towards mental health are changing. There are many options available, including therapy, that can help to improve wellbeing for all.

Common mental health issues for medical professionals

Medical professionals can be affected by the same kinds of mental health conditions as everyone else. That said, because of the nature of their work, medical professionals might be more likely to experience the following:

Prevalence of mental health challenges for medical professionals

Many medical professionals face mental health challenges at some point during their careers. A recent survey of doctors found that:

What to do if you are a medical professional struggling with mental health challenges

Some medical professionals may feel reluctant to seek help for fear of negative career consequences. They may worry about the stigma around mental health challenges and accessing support, or feel that they are the only ones struggling. Others may dismiss their own difficulties, feeling that the needs of their patients are the priority. However, it’s important to seek help.

If you are struggling with mental health challenges, consider a combination of the following actions:

Therapy types to consider for medical professionals

Most types of therapy can be applied to the mental health challenges that medical professionals may experience. Common evidence-based types of therapy include:

What to look for in a therapist for medical professionals

The best-fitting type of therapist for you will depend on individual factors, symptoms and your location. When selecting a mental health professional, it can be helpful to consider the following factors:

Personal fit

Consider the potential for developing a strong working relationship with your therapist. The trusting working relationship with a therapist is called the therapeutic alliance, and it’s the number one indicator of treatment efficacy. Some medical professionals feel more comfortable accessing help from a therapist outside of their own practice or place of work.

Qualifications and experience

It is important to look for a licensed mental health professional. This ensures that the therapist you work with has undertaken the appropriate education and training.

Talk in advance

The best way to judge how you might feel about your prospective therapist is to ask for a preliminary phone call. Most therapists will be happy to oblige. This gives you the opportunity to ask about:

Try to speak to a few different therapists before making your mind up.

Zencare can help you to find a therapist who is a good personal fit. You can browse the videos of our vetted therapists and book a free phone call. This can help you to figure out whether you feel comfortable discussing difficult issues with the therapist, and gives a sense of what the therapist’s approach is like.

Find the best therapists near you

Find therapists on Zencare, below. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.