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New national framework launched to support mental health and wellbeing of Australian medical professionals

16 October 2020

The Every Doctor, Every Setting: A National Framework was officially launched today, as part of a national commitment to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of Australian doctors and medical students.

Everymind worked to develop the new National Framework in partnership with a national working group and in consultation with doctors, doctors in training and medical students in addition to a review of best practice evidence.

It aims to guide coordinated action on the mental health of doctors and medical students through target areas including: improving training and work environments; recognising and responding to those needing support; improving the response to doctors and medical students impacted; and the culture of the medical profession to enable wellbeing and coordinated action and accountability.

According to Everymind Acting Director, Associate Professor Carmel Loughland evidence indicates that doctors in Australia are at higher risk for mental ill-health and suicide compared to the general population.

“Evidence in Australia indicates that doctors and medical students experience above average outcomes for physical health, but they are at higher risk for mental ill-health and suicide compared to the general population,” Associate Professor Loughland said.

“We also know that according to best practice research, improving the wellbeing of doctors and medical students is a key enabler of quality patient care and healthier communities.

“During consultation we learnt that when mental ill-health is recognised, doctors and medical students are often reluctant to seek help due to strong social and self-stigma and fears of appearing unhealthy and weak.

“This framework identifies a number of key themes and concerns among doctors, doctors in training and medical students that can be addressed across all medical settings to aide action and initiate broad reaching reform.”

Individuals, organisations, hospitals and governments can all be involved in taking action and showing collective support for the Framework through various steps by signing, sharing and showing how they will be implementing the framework via: www.drs4drs.com.au/resource-hub

In developing the new National Framework, Everymind reviewed the evidence base for mentally healthy workplaces; drew on international frameworks that support the mental health of employees; and consulted widely with the sector during development and drafting of the Framework to determine needs in order to develop a fit-for-purpose solution to improve the wellbeing of doctors and medical students - a key enabler of quality patient care and healthier communities.

The national working group which guided this Framework comprised representatives from the AMA, Everymind, Australian Medical Students’ Association, Orygen, United Synergies, Black Dog Institute, Queensland Doctors Health Programme, Doctors Health Services Board as well as independent registrars.

It was funded by the Australian Government as part of The Prevention Hub (co-led by the Black Dog Institute and Everymind) and specific project funding for Tackling Mental Ill-Health in Doctors and Medical Students.

For more information, visit: www.drs4drs.com.au/resource-hub

Access to a network of independent doctors’ health advisory services around the country that provide triage and referral services as well as education and other support is available at www.drs4drs.com.au

Doctors and medical students who are struggling with their mental health can now access a free, confidential 24/7 telehealth service on 1300 374 377 (1300 DR4 DRS).