Wellbeing Support and Resources
It really is ok not to be ok. Now more than ever, it is important that you take time to check in with yourself and prioritise your own mental health and wellbeing, recognising that it is more difficult to provide outstanding care for others, when you are not adequately cared for yourself. The best surgical brains protect their own minds, you can find some resources to help you below.
Confidential Support and Advice Service (CSAS)
If you are experiencing problems in your work or personal life, or are seeking, legal and financial information and guidance, and would like confidential support and advice from a trained counsellor please call the helpline* on 0800 028 0199. Advice is available 24/7.Your call will be answered by a Health Assured counsellor, who will ask you for your name and your organisation. For the latter, please state that you are a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
In addition to emotional support, if you feel you would also benefit from peer-to-peer professional support, then the counsellor can arrange for you to be referred to an appropriate surgical colleague who will be able to offer confidential and impartial advice. We hope that by talking through your difficulties, especially at an early stage, it may help to ease the burden, to reduce any feelings of isolation and anxiety, and to point the way towards a solution.
*Please note that this service is available to UK and Republic of Ireland residents only.
My Healthy Advantage Mobile App
- Interactive weekly mood tracker
- Four week health plans
- Mini health checks
- Breathing techniques
Find out how the app works by watching this video. To register, use the code MHA021282
BMA's Wellbeing support services are available free to all doctors and medical students in the UK, regardless of BMA membership. This includes a range of free confidential services and information to help support healthcare professionals:
- 24/7 counselling line including a structured course of up to six sessions of therapy available over the telephone, online, and now also face to face until the end of October. This is also open your spouses, partners and dependents aged 16-24 in full-time education.
- Confidential peer support provided by other doctors.
- A UK wellbeing support directory detailing various support services by geographical availability on the sources of support page
Free wellbeing apps
As a member of staff with the NHS you have free access to a number of wellbeing apps to support with your mental health and wellbeing. This includes apps such as Headspace, Cityparent and Unmind.
Articles and webinars
Useful articles on wellbeing and burnout from the Bulletin:
- Burnout and surgeons, Erin Dean
- Surgery and emotional health, Agnes Arnold-Forster and Alison Moulds
- Burnout in surgeons: talking the talk but not walking the walk, R Galaiya and T Arulampalam
- Shipwrecked to plain sailing, F Haarer and A Subramanian
Check out our webinar Wellbeing and you: preparing for challenges ahead.
Mental health resources
Doctors support network (DSN)
An independent, confidential and friendly self-help group for doctors who have experienced mental distress or mental health problems. The service is for doctors and run by doctors. The purpose of the group is to learn to be kinder to ourselves and others and to know we are not alone. The DSN currently has regular meetings throughout the country. The organisation is growing and has plans for meetings in other areas in the future.
DSN members receive a monthly newsletter. All calls to the DSN phone line are answered by fellow medics and there is a lively email discussion group.
Find out more or contact DSN on 0870 321 0642
DocHealth is a strictly confidential self-referral consultation service for all doctors with work or personal difficulties. Face-to-face consultations of up to six sessions are offered by a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy. DocHealth is an independent, not for profit organisation supported by charitable donations from the BMA and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. In order to sustain the service financial contributions will be requested from all its users on the basis of ability to pay.
Alcohol abuse resources
British Doctors and Dentists Group
This is a confidential contact line based at the Medical Council on Alcohol, a charity committed to improving medical understanding of alcohol related problems.
Telephone: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm: 020 7487 4445
Drug abuse resources
The Sick Doctors' Trust
A proactive service for actively addicted doctors which is structured to provide an early intervention programme. The trust facilitates treatment in appropriate centres, arranges funding for inpatient treatment and provides advocacy and representation when required. A charitable trust controlled by a board of trustees and staffed by doctors in recovery.
Find out more or contact the 24-hour helpline on 0370 444 5163
British Medical Association Counselling Service
The British Medical Association runs a confidential counselling service for all members and their families who are under stress through personal, emotional or work related problems, relationship difficulties, health worries, debt, bereavement, and alcohol and/or drug misuse, etc.
It is staffed by qualified counsellors dedicated to the BMA and bound by strict ethical codes of conduct and confidentiality. Details of conversations with counsellors will not be relayed to employers or the BMA.
Find out more or contact the 24-hour helpline: 0330 123 1245
GMC Investigation Support - BMA Doctor Support Service
Are you going through a GMC investigation? Do you feel you would benefit from emotional support?
Confidential, emotional support for doctors going through fitness to practise procedures with the GMC, or at risk of having their licence withdrawn.
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges support for doctors
Working in the NHS can be very challenging. It is vital that all doctors and NHS professionals support one another by providing an environment that encourages and enables us to make choices that promote healthy lives and wellbeing. We need well doctors so that patients receive the best care and management possible.
If you or a colleague is looking for support there are a range of organisations, services and websites which can offer help.
British International Doctors' Association
The British International Doctors' Association was established in the United Kingdom with the sole objective of promoting equality and fairness for all doctors and dentists working in the UK. BIDA's mission is to achieve equal treatment of all doctors and dentists based on their competence and merit irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin or school of graduation.
The association provides a heath counselling panel that may be useful where cultural or linguistic factors are prominent.