Stigma acts as a barrier to getting help when it is needed. In the most recent CMA 2021 Physician Health Survey, stigma ranked as the #2 reason why physicians don’t seek help. The culture of medicine can discourage physicians from seeking the care they need because it is normalized for physicians to put other people’s needs above their own.
We know that “in order to be effective, anti-stigma programs must work on multiple levels” — Mental Health and Stigma in the Medical Profession” Jean Wallace, Health, 2010. At Doctors Manitoba, we are committed to breaking down stigma against help-seeking behaviours at individual, organizational, and system levels.
There is hope.
Interventions to reduce burnout in physicians can result in important benefits. “Most doctors who are treated for mental health successfully return to work … [and] physicians who enter intensive addiction treatment followed by comprehensive long-term aftercare and monitoring, have long-term success rates of 70 to 90%” — Mental Health and Stigma in the Medical Profession.
Doctors Manitoba is currently working on a multi-pronged anti-stigma campaign to address this significant barrier to help-seeking behaviours.