Physician Mental Health

A prevalent problem

Mental illnesses are the number one public health problem affecting an estimated 26 percent of Americans age 18 and older. Eight of the top 20 causes of lost work due to disability in the United States, from 1990 to 2010 were psychiatric disorders. Everyone is potentially at risk, including professionals working in healthcare.

There is a strong association between physician burnout, emergence of mental illness and physician suicide. Untreated mental illness among physicians can pose risks to the quality and safety of patient care, prescribing habits, test ordering, risk of malpractice suits and patient adherence to treatment recommendations.

Behaviors meriting attention

  • Unexplained tardiness or absenteeism
  • Poor impulse control, angry outbursts
  • Unexplained decline in performance
  • Legal problems (DUI)
  • Diminishing dexterity, coordination
  • Detectable odor of alcohol or slurred speech
  • Signs of depression

Barriers to treatment; but growing need

In any given year, approximately two-thirds of people with a significant mental health problem do not receive any treatment, largely due to stigma and access challenges. Likewise, physicians are concerned about perception and the potential involvement of their medical board. Looking at the future, physicians remain a high risk population for mental illness and addiction as patient acuity increases, stress increases and potential for burnout increases.

Assistance is available

In association with Tri-Health, Mercy Health, the Christ Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth (The Healthcare Community), Lindner Center of HOPE is providing a private, rapid access service for physicians in need of psychiatric evaluation.

This private and confidential service provides:

  • 24/7 availability for crisis situations in which a physician would need hospital admission
  • 5-day per week outpatient diagnostic assessment and treatment provision or referral
  • A select group of top psychiatrists and psychologists are available on a daily basis

Self-referrals or those referred by a second party may contact 513-536-0311 for a confidential appointment

Physicians referred for diagnosis and treatment would be expected to pay for professional services using health insurance or private pay.

Lindner Center of HOPE will provide an anonymous record of the number of physicians seen to the membership of the Healthcare Community on a semi-annual basis.

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