Doctors’ Health in Queensland’s service arm board chair Ross Phillipson led the charge in acknowledging the honourable work the organisation has done for the medical community since it first began operations more than 31 years ago.
Along with formally announcing the organisation’s name change from Doctors’ Health Advisory Service (Qld) (DHAS(Q)) to Doctors’ Health in Queensland (DHQ), Dr Phillipson celebrated the service for providing Queensland with its only colleague-to-colleague confidential support helpline at last week’s media call.
“Members of the medical profession usually enjoy good physical health compared to the general population,” he said.
“However, experience and the research shows that mental health issues are common, especially anxiety and depressive disorders. Sadly the research also tells us that the suicide rate amongst doctors – especially female doctors – is higher than that of the general population.”
The backbone of DHQ will continue to be the 24/7 helpline which is available only to doctors and medical students who are having difficulty with their physical or mental health.
“The help line is staffed by volunteer senior General Practitioners who have received special training in assisting colleagues in distress.”
Dr Phillipson said speciality practitioners including psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts were also available where required.
He added that DHQ was designed specifically around providing support within the walls of the medical profession, as medicos were more likely to speak out about their struggles to someone with relevant experiences.
“The bespoke nature of this service is that the first point of contact for a doctor or medical student is another person with a medical qualification who understands medical practice, the daily challenges faced by medical professionals and the medical landscape in Queensland.”
Dr Phillipson explained that DHQ was also involved in the research of doctors’ health and preventative measures, including speaking in medical schools and conferences, supporting resilience training, raising awareness with junior doctors, specialist colleagues and public hospital administrators, as well as a continual presence across social media and up-to-date website information.
Along with national recognition, the organisation receives arm’s length funding from the Medical Board of Australia.
The DHQ HELP LINE is available to doctors and medical students 24/7 Tel: 3833 4352