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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why doctors are leery about seeking mental health care for themselves

By Nathaniel P. Morris
The Washington Post
Originally published January 7, 2016

A survey of 2,000 U.S. physicians released in September found that roughly half believed they had met criteria for a mental health disorder in the past but had not sought treatment. The doctors listed a number of reasons they had shunned care, including worries that they’d be stigmatized and an inability to find the time.

But they also voiced a troubling reason for avoiding treatment: medical licensing applications.

After graduating from medical school, doctors must complete residency training and apply for state medical licenses to practice medicine. According to a study that appeared in 2008, about 90 percent of state medical boards have licensing forms that include questions about an applicant’s mental health.

Such questions are intended to protect the public, based on the idea that impaired or distressed physicians could endanger patients. A physician having hallucinations, for example, might not be able to focus or practice safely.

The article is here.