What prevents doctors from seeking help for stress and burnout? A mixed-methods investigation among metropolitan and regional-based australian doctors
Clough, B.A., March, S., Leane, S., Ireland, M.J.
Despite the increased risk of experiencing mental health concerns, particularly related to stress and burnout, psychological help-seeking among medical doctors is typically low. This study examined the barriers to treatment experienced by doctors for stress and burnout-related difficulties.
A mixed-methods design was adopted. The quantitative sample comprised 274 Australian-based medical doctors. Qualitative interviews were conducted with a subsample of 20 (11 regional and 9 metropolitans) doctors. For triangulation, five stakeholder interviews were also conducted with representatives of the profession.
Time was the greatest barrier to treatment. Qualitatively, doctors identified barriers such as stigma and fear of professional consequences, and particularly among regional doctors, access to services and professional culture.
There is a need for tailored strategies to address barriers to psychological treatment among doctors for improving service access and mental health.