Improving the mental health and wellbeing of anaesthetists
Ms Jaelea Skehan, Dr Gavin Hazel, Dr Ross Tynan and Dr Sally Fitzpatrick of Everymind.
Research status - Complete
Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA)
The Prevention Hub
Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces is an initiative of the Welfare of Anaesthetists special interest group (SIG) and Everymind, with support from the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) and additional funding leveraged under The Prevention Hub. The aim of the project was to develop an evidence-based response to support the mental health and wellbeing of anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees.
Anaesthetists face a number of unique challenges as part of their work, which can result in poor mental health and poor general health. The stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide in the general public, combined with the value many doctors place on being the giver of care rather the recipient, can also make it challenging for anaesthetists to seek help when they need it.
We know from research that well-coordinated programs and approaches implemented in workplace settings can improve mental health and wellbeing, reduce mental ill-health and reduce suicidal behaviour. The need for a targeted approach to support the mental health and wellbeing of anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees was clear.
The toolkit was informed by each of the following steps:
- A review of the academic literature to understand what is currently known about the mental health and wellbeing of anaesthetists and the role of workplaces in the prevention of mental ill-health and the prevention of suicide.
- A series of in-depth interviews and focus groups to gain rich qualitative data from anaesthetists in their own words.
- A review of relevant policies, programs and initiatives targeted at doctors to ensure a connection between this toolkit and other complementary work.
The toolkit draws on each of these components to provide a specific resource to reduce anxiety, depression and suicidal behaviour among anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees at a local level.