Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Mental Health seminar 16/10/2017

Title: Doctors as Patients': Exploring the barriers and facilitators to help seeking for mental health problems by GPs and improving access to support

Speaker: Dr Marta Buszewicz 



There has been a great deal written about the considerable and increasing work pressures which general practitioners (GPs) are currently under, along with significant financial constraints and difficulties recruiting new GPs to replace those leaving or retiring. Something less explored is the emotional and mental health difficulties experienced by many GPs, which they are often reluctant to disclose or may feel unable to seek appropriate help for. There is evidence that doctors, including GPs, are more likely than the general population to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and burnout.


This study employed a qualitative design, conducting in-depth interviews with 47 GP participants. They were asked to classify themselves as: i) currently living with mental distress (defined as anxiety, depression, stress or burn-out), ii) returning to work following treatment for such problems, iii) off sick or retired early due to mental health issues, or iv) considering themselves mentally healthy, but with opinions about how colleagues might seek help.


We obtained a great deal of very rich and sometimes troubling data which has already resulted in several publications. I will present the findings according to three main themes:

(1) Sources of stress/distress for GPs;

(2) GPs experience of living and working with distress/mental illness;

(3) Barriers and facilitators to help-seeking.

I will suggest some potential solutions to this significant problem but hope there will also be time for some discussion during the seminar