By Anticipate Joy
In a recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund, half of the physicians under the age of 55 in the United States reported being burned out, while 61% said they’ve experienced emotional distress since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 45% of U.S. physicians aged 55 or older plan to stop seeing patients within the next one to three years, according to the survey. These findings are not surprising considering the heightened levels of stress physicians endured because of COVID.
Family physicians are dealing with a high level of stress, which if not treated with mental health interventions, could have a negative impact on emotional stability. As clinical psychologists, we often encourage preventive mental health care to professionals in high-stress occupations. It is vitally important that family physicians make caring for their mental health a priority. Sadly, only 16% of physicians under age 55 said they sought professional help for a mental health problem since the beginning of COVID-19. That total declined to just 6% among older physicians who also reported emotional distress. Part of the reluctance to seek help is founded on a fear of how seeking mental health treatment could impact one’s ability to practice medically. more