Peer Support Service
Do you feel you need to talk but are not sure who to approach? Perhaps it is a sensitive or confidential matter. As doctors, we are under increasing pressure in the workplace. We help others every day yet are the last to seek help for ourselves.
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service provides you with a listening colleague who understands the pressures of medicine.
For anonymous and confidential support call 1300 853 338 (for the cost of a local call).
About the Peer Support Service
We are here to listen and provide support on issues such as:
- A stressful incident
- Violence and trauma in your workplace
- Bullying or harassment
- Workload concerns
- Feelings of stress or inability to cope
- Your career plans
- Personal issues
- Your well-being
There is no charge for using the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service. All volunteer telephone counsellors are experienced doctors trained in the skills of peer support telephone counselling, and have broad experience in medical practice and represent a wide range of specialties.
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service offers a listening ear, and if you require ongoing assistance we will refer you to appropriate expert services.
Using the Peer Support Service
Contact AMA Victoria Peer Support 365 days of the year from 8am to 10pm.
When you dial 1300 853 338 your call will be transferred to a mobile phone carried by a volunteer AMA Victoria Peer Support Service counsellor.
We occasionally receive unrelated phone calls to this service. Administrative enquiries about AMA Victoria, questions about member services and membership renewals should be directed to AMA Victoria staff during business hours (8.30 am–5.00 pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30 am–5 pm Fridays), on (03) 9280 8722.
For urgent assistance or between the hours of 10pm and 8am call Lifeline on 131114.
What our volunteers say about being involved in the Peer Support Service:
As a conversation between equals, Peer Support engenders respect and resilience, it’s a two-way process.
Having an anonymous service gives doctors in need an opportunity to discuss any issues that affect their lives and their professional careers in safety.
It was great to enhance my listening skills with the excellent training sessions we did prior to starting to take calls.
There is enormous satisfaction in knowing that you have actually helped a stressed doctor, who is appreciative for your listening, and for supplying information and resources. It is great to meet and engage with other doctors, and our amazing manager Kay, and our psychologist Claire, and to learn from all of them.
For me, Peer Support is a way to payback the help I received when I needed it.
We now have an excellent new telephone system which makes the job so much easier!
Another key benefit is the collegiality of the Peer Support team, Claire, Kay and the medical volunteers who meet regularly to share their experiences so that we can all provide better support to others and to each other. The meetings that we have are really important to build a team spirit and continuously learning to provide a better service.
With the organisational experience I had, including considerable time dealing with issues of both senior and junior doctors in a wide variety of health service organisations, and heading towards retirement, I was keen to continue use this experience in a voluntary role. Particularly with junior doctors it is important to know what options are available to them if things go wrong and to be able to help them clarify a course of action. It is often difficult for those who have not had such roles to be aware of options available in health service organisations that can be very supportive of junior staff and be completely private.
I have been able to continue to use this experience to assist other doctors to cope with their lives and careers, albeit in a small way.
Peer Support FAQs
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service is a telephone support line provided for doctors by doctors.
Any doctor or medical student who lives, works or studies in Victoria can use the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service. The service is open to both members and non-members of AMA Victoria. We also will do our best to assist if someone calls on behalf of a doctor or medical student.
When you dial the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service your call will be directed to the mobile phone of a volunteer telephone counsellor. All volunteer telephone counsellors are experienced doctors.
All telephone counsellors have undertaken an extensive training program with a focus on crisis support before they commence their volunteer work with the Peer Support Service. The training program focuses on the specific skills of telephone counselling. The volunteer telephone counsellors also participate in ongoing training sessions on a regular basis.
You can call the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service any time between 8am and 10pm.
It is outside the hours that the Service is available and I feel desperate. Who else can I call?Expand
There are a range of general crisis services available. You can phone Lifeline on 131114 at anytime and they will assist you to find appropriate support.
What is the difference between the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service and the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program?Expand
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service is a telephone support service which operates as a point of first contact for callers who would like to talk through an issue of concern. The Peer Support Service is anonymous and callers can call regarding any aspect of their life. The Victorian Doctors’ Health Program is a service for Victorian doctors and medical students with health problems including mental health, substance abuse and physical problems.
The service is free apart from the cost of your telephone call.
The telephone call is charged to you at the rate of a local telephone call.
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service provides a confidential service. You can remain completely anonymous when you call the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service.
I don’t want anyone to know that I have used the service. Will the AMA be monitoring the calls?Expand
AMA Victoria does not monitor calls to the Peer Support Service. General statistics about the type of call are noted in order to ensure that the service is meeting the needs of callers and to ensure that ongoing training of the telephone counsellors is appropriate.
Calls are not recorded. Only general statistics about the type of calls received are collected by the telephone counsellors.
The telephone counsellors do not record any personal details of callers, only general statistics about the type of call. No identifying data about callers is recorded.
The medical community in Victoria is relatively small. Could I recognise or be recognised by the telephone counsellor?Expand
The AMA Victoria Peer Support Service telephone counsellors do not provide their own name or disclose their own identity. This protects both the caller and the telephone counsellor from recognition. You can remain completely anonymous when you call the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service.
You may call the service for support in any situation. The telephone counsellors are available to provide support to you.
You may call the service for support in any situation. The telephone counsellors are available to provide support to you. The telephone counsellors are able to assist you find ongoing support or expert assistance when this is needed.
The telephone counsellors are available to provide support and when appropriate will provide information about the resources available or if necessary options for referral for further assistance.
You may call the AMA Peer Support Service as often as needed but you may reach a different telephone counsellor when you call back. The Service does not provide follow up after a call but you are welcome to call back at any time.
The telephone counsellors work on a rotating roster. If you call back a different telephone counsellor may be on duty.
The volunteer telephone counsellors carry on their normal daily routines when they are on duty but ensure that they are available to take calls most of the time. If they are temporarily unavailable the call will transfer to voice mail and you can leave a message if you wish.
If your call goes to voice mail and you do not wish to leave a message you can call back again after a short period of time. The telephone counsellor should be available to take your call within 30 minutes.
I am interested in becoming a volunteer telephone counsellor with the Peer Support Service. Who should I contact?Expand
Contact AMA Victoria on 03 9280 8722 during normal business hours and express your interest in becoming a volunteer telephone counsellor. A staff member will discuss with you the training and roster requirements.
I think the AMA Victoria Peer Support Service is great and I would like to make a donation to support it. Who do I contact?Expand
Contact AMA Victoria on 03 9280 8722 during normal business hours and express your interest in making a donation to support the Service. A staff member will assist you.