beyondblue's National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students

A world-first survey of thousands of Australian doctors and medical students has revealed they are burnt-out, more likely to experience psychological distress and suicidal thoughts than the general community and are drinking too much alcohol.

beyondblue's National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students found that medical students and young or female doctors are most at risk and identified that significant levels of stigma towards people with mental health problems. Some respondents also reported that they were bullied or experienced racism.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said more must be done not only to help doctors and students, but also patients. "If doctors do not deal with the mental health issues they are experiencing, it can affect their ability to deliver the best care," she said. "This survey identifies the challenges the medical community faces and outlines how they can be tackled".

"This includes initiatives such as the development of a mental health strategy for the Australian medical community to promote good mental health, the development of guidelines around working hours, better mental health education in universities to reduce stigma, and awareness campaigns".

1 in five medical students and 1 in 10 doctors had suicidal thoughts in the past year, compared with one in 45 people in the wider community, according to the report. More than 4 in 10 students and a quarter of doctors are highly likely to have a minor psychiatric disorder, like mild depression or mild anxiety. Indigenous doctors and those working in rural or remote health also reported high levels of stress.

Media release and summary findings

Full report

Executive summary

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