The mental health of doctors severely affected by the pandemic

The suicide last week of a doctor at the Granby hospital highlighted the perverse effects of the pandemic on the mental health of doctors. According to the director general of the Quebec Physician Assistance Program (PAMQ), Dr. Anne Magnan, for many caregivers, the pandemic is the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

She explains that the crisis represents an additional source of stress for doctors, and that this stress takes all kinds of forms depending on each individual’s situation. For many, the pandemic has increased the workload tenfold; for others, it is a source of anxiety because of the risks taken at work; and for some, it means isolation.

Anne Magnan specifies that doctors are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems. Often, caregivers will focus on the needs of patients, forgetting their own needs, she explains. This makes them slow to seek help, especially since it is still taboo for a healthcare worker to talk about his mental health problems. It is exceedingly difficult for a doctor to seek help, says Anne Magnan. For them, it is a sign of weakness, while it is more a sign of resilience.

For 30 years, the PAMQ has put physicians who have mental health problems in contact with peers who can direct them to the right resources according to their needs. Dr. Magnan invites all caregivers to take the time to assess their mental health and consult the tools offered by the PAMQ (New window).

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