Attitudes toward colleagues who disclose mental health difficulties
I read with great interest the article "Doctors accessing mental- health services: an exploratory study" by Josephine Stanton and Patte Randal and the response posted by Andrew K Ntanda and I would agree that this group of doctors should consider accessing individual psychotherapy. My training region also offers support to doctors with Mental Health and other problems I would like to direct any readers to their deanery website to find out about availability of any similar services in their region.
From a very personal perspective I suffered from moderate post natal depression following a c-section which coincided with the completion of my CCST. I accessed the relevant service and found it most helpful. However I also sought help and advice from my consultant supervisor, a decision I now deeply regret. Since disclosing my difficulties I have been unable to gain any consultant post. While this may seem to the reader to be a case of sour grapes or perhaps slightly over-sensitive on my part it has been difficult to shake the feeling that, perhaps, by disclosing my difficulties I have made myself unemployable. For this reason I would very much like to see further studies that consider the longitudenal impact on doctors who access help for their mental health difficulties and further to this their subsequent career trajectories. Such a study may help allay the fears described by participants in Stanton and Randal's paper and enable them to adopt appropriate health seeking behaviours. Moreover I hope such studies will enable the profession to be more self reflective and cease out-grouping those of our peers with conditions that traditionally attract stigma.
Conflict of Interest:
The author of this e-letter has identified herself to the journal but requested to remain anonymous.