'The strain on health workers has continued to grow with no signs of a break coming'
Mental health troubles continue to inflict physicians, according to a report.
Sixty per cent of physicians and residents indicate that their mental health has worsened since the onset of the pandemic, according to the Canadian Medical Association.
How bad is it? More than one-third (36 per cent) of respondents have had thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives, and 14 per cent have had thoughts of suicide in the last 12 months.
Nine per cent of doctors have had suicidal thoughts but have never attempted to take their own life while about one per cent have attempted suicide, according to a previous report from Medscape.
"Every day, we hear physicians expressing despair at the state of our health system, the strain that all health workers are facing and the fact that our patients are suffering," says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA president. "Since this survey was completed, the strain on health workers has continued to grow with no signs of a break coming. Physicians need help and support so they can continue to provide quality care to patients."
Also, nearly half (48 per cent) tested positive for depression, according to the survey of more than 4,100 physicians, medical residents and medical students conducted between October and December 2021. This was up significantly from 34 per cent in 2017.
One-quarter (25 per cent) of physicians and residents experience severe (10 per cent) or moderate (15 per cent) anxiety, and 53 per cent of physicians and medical learners (53 per cent) experience high levels of burnout.
More than half (53 per cent) of physicians and medical learners have experienced high levels of burnout, according to a report released in March.
This has had a severe impact on some of the respondents’ lives. Nearly half (49 per cent) of respondents are considering reducing their clinical work in the next 24 months.
Moral distress is pronounced among physicians and medical learners, with one in five saying they have felt it “very often” or “always,” and a further 33 per cent saying “sometimes,” since the start of the pandemic.
Nearly half of physicians (47 per cent) report low levels of social well-being, up from 31 per cent in the 2017 survey.
Eight in 10 (79 per cent) physicians and medical learners score low on professional fulfillment, and less than six in 10 physicians and medical learners indicate being satisfied with their career in medicine
Others in the health-care sector are also having a hard time with their mental health.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) seems to be the top hazard paramedics face in their line of duty, according to a previous survey. Seventy-five per cent of Canadian nurses were classified as burnt out, based on the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)’s survey of 5,200 Canadian nurses, most of them from Ontario, conducted from May to July 2021.