Doctors 'more likely' to suffer mental illness

A quarter of doctors believe that they are more likely to develop a mental illness than members of the general public, a UK study has found.

Researchers from Birmingham and Solihull mental health trust sent postal questionnaires to all 3,512 doctors identified as working in teaching hospitals and surgeries in Birmingham.

A total of 542 GPs were involved in the study.

Overall, 25.8% of doctors said that they felt the prevalence of psychiatric illness in doctors was higher than that of the public, with 12.4% of respondents stating that they had experienced a mental illness.

Doctors were, however, found to be reluctant to disclose a mental illness to a fellow colleague because of the stigma attached to mental health issues.

Additionally, 40.6% of doctors said that they would look to seek treatment at a local private facility, with only 21.1% prepared to ask for treatment at a local NHS hospital.

The researchers concluded that education on stigma and its consequences should be made more prominent in medical schools and training courses for junior doctors.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Clinical Medicine Online 2009

 

 

 

 

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