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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9850473, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9850473
Research Article

Canadian Physicians’ Attitudes towards Accessing Mental Health Resources

1Providence Care Mental Health Services, 752 King Street West, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 4X3
2Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University at Kingston, ON, Canada
3Queen’s University at Kingston, ON, Canada

Received 30 December 2015; Accepted 8 March 2016

Academic Editor: Nicola Magnavita

Copyright © 2016 Tariq M. Hassan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Despite their rigorous training, studies have shown that physicians experience higher rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide compared to the general population. An online questionnaire was sent to a random sample of physicians across Canada to assess physicians’ knowledge of the incidence of mental illness among physicians and their attitudes towards disclosure and treatment in a hypothetical situation where one developed a mental illness. We received 139 responses reflecting mostly primary care physicians and nonsurgical specialists. The majority of respondents underestimated the incidence of mental illness in physicians. The most important factors influencing respondent’s will to disclose their illness included career implications, professional integrity, and social stigma. Preference for selecting mental health treatment services, as either outpatients or inpatients, was mostly influenced by quality of care and confidentiality, with lower importance of convenience and social stigma. Results from this study suggest that the attitudes of physicians towards becoming mentally ill are complex and may be affected by the individual’s previous diagnosis of mental illness and the presence of a family member with a history of mental illness. Other factors include the individual’s medical specialty and level of experience. As mental illness is common among physicians, one must be conscious of these when offering treatment options.