Mental Health in Female Doctors

Mental Health in Female Doctors 2018-04-04T10:16:18+00:00

Victor Khou

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In recent years, there has been extensive discussion in the media regarding the mental health of doctors and medical students. Studies have found an increased prevalence of mental health issues in the medical community, particularly among female doctors. A survey conducted by beyondblue found significantly higher rates of psychological distress, depression, anxiety and suicide ideation in female health professionals compared to their male counterparts. Furthermore, female doctors more commonly experienced work-related stress and emotional burnout. Mental health within this population may be negatively impacted by gender inequities in social status, employment rates and income. Gender-based discrimination in the workplace and greater domestic responsibilities may further contribute to poorer mental health.

To date, little has been done to address the burden of mental health issues in female doctors. While organisations such as the Medical Board of Australia and the Australian Medical Association have recently increased funding and resources to support mental health in doctors, more needs to be done to specifically address the needs of female health professionals. Moreover, barriers such as stigmatisation and lack of confidentiality continue to prevent doctors from seeking help and support. Therefore, it is necessary to continue advocating for this issue and work towards the development of targeted treatment and support for women in the health profession. Possible strategies include restructuring of training programs, and continued open discussion of mental health in public forums.