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Improving Doctors Mental Health & Supporting Doctors with Mental Health Problems

News and presentations for today's Improving Doctors Mental Health & Supporting Doctors with Mental Health Problems: Bringing the Joy Back into Work.

Learning from Lived Experience: The Joyful Doctor
Dr Caroline Walker,
Psychiatrist, Therapist, Trainer, Coach & Founder, The Joyful Doctor
Dr  Caroline Walker is a Doctors’ Wellbeing Specialist and founder of The Joyful Doctor – an organisation that highlights the pressures, and mental health costs, of working in medicine and helps struggling doctors to seek support.  She is a loving  mum of two and  an international role model for doctors with mental health conditions.  Caroline has first-hand experience of burnout, bipolar disorder, addictions and more.  Through her own mental and physical health struggles as a doctor Caroline came to realise that, as doctors, we desperately need more support to take care of ourselves - without feeling guilty, isolated and scared of the consequences for our careers. Caroline will be speaking today about her own journey of struggling, and thriving, as a doctor, about the common struggles that all doctors face, and the simple tools that can turn your work and life in a more joyful direction - no matter how hard things get.  She will be reminding us that we are human beings first, and doctors second.
Full PowerPoint Presentation

We may not like them but we can’t avoid them: striking the balance with complaints and concerns
Dr Maurice Conlon,
Clinical Advisor, Professional Standards Team, NHS England
Dr Conlon said most error is not down to an individual but a combination of team and system failures which need to be made safer but he said we tend to learn from our own unpleasant experiences which is important to improve our responses next time. He said; "learning from low-consequence error reduces high-consequence error". He gave tips and advice for responding to complaints and concerns, saying it's important to get it right, that a happy, health doctor will improve patient care.
Useful resource: A practical guide for responding to concerns about medical practice
​Full PowerPoint Presentation

Working to improve early intervention and support for Medical Students with mental health concerns
Dr Margaret Bunting,
Director of Student Support, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia
Pre Event Abstract
Adviser’s can find themselves in a complex situation when supporting a student with mental health concerns, who is struggling with the course. This presentation will explore learning-centred advising that offers an approach to proactively identifying students who may be vulnerable. The main focus of the presentation is around how to frame an adviser/advisee consultation. The research-based student meeting consultation framework that will be presented offers flexibility to be applied to a student on any course. The consultation framework is not a checklist, rather a framework that supports advisers to get an understanding of their student, in a timely manner, in order to support the student to develop appropriate dynamic help-seeking behaviour, be it in the form of formal, informal help-seeking or identifying self-help resources. Dr Bunting, along with Dr Ellis, has developed a framework for a student/adviser consultation. This framework is research-led. Research, undertaken at the University of East Anglia by Hubble (2016), identified themes that affect resilience amongst medical students. The data from this research has been developed and translated into practice.
​Full PowerPoint Presentation

Supporting doctors in distress: suicide mitigation and averting crisis
Dr Alys Cole-King,
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist and Clinical Director, 4Mental Health
Alys said one of the biggest challenges is to eradicate stigma around mental illness as it limits lives and prevents people even admitting to themselves that there's a problem.  She said we all need the skills and knowledge to be suicide alert to respond safely and compassionately, we need to find a way to look after ourselves and each other better. Alys listed six attributes of compassion: motivation, sensitivity, sympathy, distress tolerance, empathy, non-judgemental. 
On resilience or resourcefulness, Alys said no one discusses the emotional labour of being a doctor, we are not taught resilience or resourcefulness, to have an increased awareness of self care and self compassion. 

Related blog by Dr Alys Cole-King 'Doctors under pressure need resilience, not mental toughness

Useful resource:

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