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Practical Guidance on Mental Health and Physician Burnout

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Why Physicians Should Prioritize Their Emotional Wellbeing

The issue of burnout has long plagued physicians given the many hours of physically and mentally draining work. But the past year of dealing with COVID-19 has ratcheted the demands on doctors even higher, and many may be experiencing profession-related mental health issues for the first time. Now more than ever it's important to pay attention to the idea of compassion fatigue, says Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong in Therapy, her Manhattan-based private practice.

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How to Find the Right Therapist When You Feel Burned Out — Advice from a Clinical Psychologist

Not surprisingly, doctors tend to be rather picky when choosing professionals to take care of their own health. And that’s true of both physical and emotional health needs. “Doctors happen to be really selective about finding therapists,” says Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong in Therapy, her Manhattan-based private practice. “I think it’s one of the reasons that they don’t get into therapy earlier.”

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The Message from Leading Voices in Cancer Care — Don’t Lose Yourself in Caring for Your Patients

Physician burnout is real. The mental and physical exhaustion that characterizes this condition affects up to half of doctors, and it can have both professional and personal implications. Even in times of great duress, like the COVID-19 pandemic, our instinct is to put patients first, and we may fail to recognize our own needs as a result.

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How Physicians Can Prevent Physical and Emotional Burnout

“One of the first things we look for with burnout is exhaustion, and it can happen in both a physical and emotional way,” explains Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong in Therapy, her Manhattan-based private practice. Physical exhaustion is often a precursor to emotional exhaustion, but complicating burnout diagnosis and treatment in physicians is the fact that they’ve been trained to work through physical exhaustion and even to ignore it.

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COVID-19 Energized the HCP Community in the Early Days

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of HCP burnout had reached epidemic proportions. "Health care has been suffering from burnout for many, many years. All of the regulatory challenges, all of the insurance and administrative challenges that face health care has really sapped the joy for many providers," Dr. Ted Teknos, a head and neck cancer surgeon at University Hospitals in Cleveland, tells SurvivorNet Connect. According to Dr. Teknos, there was a silver lining when the pandemic first began as many health care workers felt reenergized with a purpose.

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COVID-19 Could Lead to Dangerous Levels of Physician Burnout — How Can We Change the Culture of Medicine?

Working to the extreme is a hazard of the medical profession. In January 2020, 42% of physicians surveyed reported feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, otherwise known as burnout. And that was before COVID-19 sent a flood of new patients into medical offices and hospitals.

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Practical Advice for Physicians Struggling with Mental Illness

A mental health crisis is going on right now, and acknowledging it is a first step in addressing the problem. The demanding pace of the industry puts physicians at high risk for burnout, particularly in the midst of the high-stress environment that a global pandemic brings.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Reinforces the Need to Care for Your Mental Health

Fear of being perceived as weak or unable to do their jobs has created a stigma that prevents many physicians from accessing the mental health care they need. Inadequate treatment may be one reason why the risk for suicide is so much higher among doctors than it is in the general population.

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Addressing Work-Life Balance Essential for Doctors’ Mental Health

More than half of physicians surveyed say they've struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.

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How to Prevent COVID-19 From Taking a Toll on Your Mental Health

We often talk about COVID-19 in terms of infections and deaths. What sometimes remains unspoken is the emotional toll this virus has had, not only on patients, but also on the doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who care for them. Research finds that these frontline medical workers face high levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

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Practical Steps for Physician Burnout

Therapy for physicians is important. Providers can be consumers of therapy, and there should be no shame in seeking help. Dr. Elizabeth Jewell says to identify risk factors. “Middle-aged women, and associate professors tend to be high risk [for mental health issues]. A lot of it has to do with busier clinical practices, job expectations, and responsibilities at home. As a society, we need to figure that out.”

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