Mental Health Aspects of Burnout

Burnout Book Club

“Mental Health Aspects of Burnout”

 

  This week I want to start something new. We’re gonna start a book club and what better book to talk about burnout then maybe a book that I wrote!  I thought we would start at chapter one. And those of you who don’t have the book, maybe it would be good to go and get it. 🙂 It is linked below! 

 

  I’ll give you a little synopsis of chapter one, and we’ll step through the book over the next weeks or months picking chapters to highlight.

“Chapter 1”

 

   Physicians are held to some sort of a super-human standard, like we cannot have mental mental health issues, although we know that mental health issues are exactly the same within physicians as they are in any other portion of the population. Some are worse such as suicide and suicidal completion which are in the highest rate in any profession in physicians.  

“Fear of Disclosure”

 

  The other issue is there is a genuine fear in physicians of disclosure of any sort of imperfection, because we’re driven to be perfect always from a school standpoint, from a performance standpoint, from a personal life standpoint.  People become the doctor and that’s another myth that will explode at some point because it’s exhausting and that leads to burnout as well. 

 

“Fear of Imperfection” 

 

 We’re driven to be perfect so there can never be a disclosure of imperfections especially to our patients in a way that would make them think that we couldn’t care well for them somehow if we are not perfect, then we can’t be perfect for them. 

 

  So I think there’s a genuine fear of disclosure to patients and that could potentially harm your practice. There’s a fear of disclosure to the state medical boards and in some way would they restrict or rescind your license if there’s some sort of disclosure for mental health issues? And I think there’s a fear of disclosure to maybe yourself or your family that you might have in a times where you’re not perfect. 

 

How to find help:

  There are programs to help physicians, most states having something called a physician health plan or physician help program. Many times these existed for kind of mandated referrals for substance abuse or other issues with physicians. 

 

  What I would like to see is that in addition to those physicians getting the help they need is there could be a voluntary arm of the physician health programs where any physician for essentially free or  maybe you pay more for your license, maybe there’s some sort of a one time fee, but you could access mental health services through the physicians health program with no possibility of impact on your licensure. To tell the truth, I feel like you should be encouraged to do that. You should be encouraged to become more healthy and become a better physician instead of hiding things. 

  In the first chapter of the book  I include one of the 28 question disclosures that I need to fill out five to 10 times per year about how’s my mental health. There are many disclosures that seem to be extremely intrusive, and I’ve never seen that encountered anything else except for maybe airline pilot. I have a few patients who have told me that airline pilots actually have a program that actively treats them for mental health issues. 

 

In Summary: 

 

  So bottom line into the chapter one summary, burnout is important, mental health issues are a big component of burnout, we fear disclosure, and we fear the way to access care. There are many online options for care, actually, I use one now, an online service called BetterHelp, which is excellent. There are many ways to access health care and especially in a private way, if that is still your preference. physician health programs will hopefully transition towards more useful and more inclusive treatment plans.

  In order to become better physicians, we need to be better at treating and taking care of ourselves in a supportive rather than a punitive environment. Please avail yourself of all the help you need and we’ll continue to have a book club from time to time with my book. Remember, always burnout recovery is for you.

 

Burnout is treatable, burnout is recoverable. So remember, always burn out recovery is for you.

 

~Jeff Moody, MD

 

WEEKLY TIP VIDEO: 

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→GRAB A COPY OF MY BOOK:

 

 

 

 

 

 

→Check out my NEW live stream series, Burnout Breakthrough on @JeffMoodyMD.

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