#157 Mental wellbeing advice during COVID-19
23 April 2020
Looking after your mental wellbeing is a huge priority for everybody during the COVID-19 crisis and doctors are no different.
AMA Victoria member and psychiatrist, Dr Helen Schultz, has some advice for her medical colleagues in a series of short videos.
“We’re all obviously very distressed and concerned at the moment and a lot of this is because the fear of the unknown is all around us,” Dr Schultz said.
The videos include tips on how to embrace the practise of mindfulness, along with study advice for doctors-in-training.
Dr Schultz said it’s perfectly normal for everyone to have occasional feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, but doctors should seek some support if you are experiencing:
- Persistent low mood – being unable to look forward to anything.
- Tearfulness, including bursting into tears at work. This will happen for doctors from time-to-time, but shouldn’t be happening too frequently.
- Suicidal thoughts; it’s not normal to have suicidal thoughts, even at times like this.
“Concerns about financial troubles or extreme work pressures might lead to suicidal thoughts,” Dr Schultz warned. “This is a huge alarm bell to seek urgent help. One of the places to seek this help is the Victorian Doctors Health Program; and also your GP.”
“A clinician can help decipher if this is your baseline or if you have an existing mental illness that’s been exacerbated; is this an emerging mental illness, or do you just need some support and someone to talk to?”
Dr Helen Schultz talks about mindfulness from AMA Victoria on Vimeo.
When to seek professional help with Dr Helen Schultz from AMA Victoria on Vimeo.
Study advice for Doctors in Training from AMA Victoria on Vimeo.
Wellbeing support services
The Victorian Doctors Health Program (VDHP) will continue to be available 24/7 to all medical students and doctors in Victoria and Tasmania throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call (03) 9280 8738. VDHP will be utilising teleconferencing and videoconferencing for all consultations during this time.
AMA Victoria’s Peer Support Service is available every day of the year from 8am to 10pm on 1300 853 338. Our Peer Support team is available to provide support over the phone for the times you need to debrief and talk about how you are feeling and what is going on. The principle of the Peer Support Service is doctors supporting doctors and the service is available to all doctors and medical students in Victoria and Tasmania. You can remain anonymous and your call is confidential.
Lifeline – 13 11 14