We continue to hear the sobering statistics surrounding physician mental health, and we know your job isn’t getting any easier. Emergency physicians work compassionately with patients and their families during their worst moments, but the emotional and physical burdens eventually take their toll. While there’s no easy fix, ACEP is dedicated to developing resources and providing support that can help you weather the storm.
During ACEP19 in Denver, we rolled out the ACEP Wellness & Assistance Program, which offers ACEP members exclusive access to three free counseling or wellness sessions in partnership with Mines & Associates. Sessions are available 24-7 by phone, text, or online messaging, or you can schedule a face-to-face appointment near your office, home, or school.
What’s the difference between a counseling session and a wellness session? Counseling sessions can cover everyday issues including stress, anxiety, depression, family issues, drug and alcohol abuse, relationships, death and grief, and more. When you call in for a referral, the clinical staff will assess your situation, discuss plans for resolving your issues, advise you of available resources, and refer you to a local counselor.
Wellness sessions are 30-minute phone calls to help you reach your personal wellness goals. National Board of Medical Examiners–certified wellness coaches can help you set specific wellness goals and plan for progress checks along the way to help you reach your objectives. Areas of focus can include weight control, nutrition, healthy habits, stress, caffeine reduction, injury recovery, relationships, sleep, smoking cessation, and more.
Participation in this new program is strictly confidential and free with your ACEP membership. For an additional $15 per year, ACEP members can also access additional benefits, including legal and financial support services and access to the Mines & Associates’ Personal Advantage Online Resource Library, which has thousands of helpful resources related to finances, personal development, child care and elder care, mental health, and more. Legal and financial support services include unlimited 30-minute in-person or phone consultations per legal or financial issue, plus a 25 percent discount on select legal and financial services with the Mines professional network.
Learn more about this new program at www.acep.org/support.
Ms. Grantham is ACEP communications manager.
Here to Help
The ACEP Wellness & Assistance Program is our newest program available to support physician mental health, but many other resources are available.
ACEP’s state and chapter services department provided all chapters with a template letter to send to state medical boards urging them to utilize the Federation of State Medical Boards’ language related to what mental health treatment needs to be disclosed on licensing applications. Chapters also received specific talking points to support their advocacy efforts in this area, along with a templated letter for hospital administrators regarding questions on credentialing applications.
ACEP’s Wellness Section provides an opportunity to learn what you can do to avoid burnout, enjoy a balanced life, and keep the vitality necessary to be a healthy emergency physician. Section members are involved in research on a variety of wellness issues and, in addition, have an opportunity to volunteer for peer-to-peer support on career issues and litigation stress. The Wellness Section has a compilation of mental health resources for emergency physicians, residents, and medical students. Learn more at www.acep.org/how-we-serve/sections/wellness/.
Wellness Guide Book
Visit www.acep.org/wellness to download the free guide book Being Well in Emergency Medicine: ACEP’s Guide to Investing in Yourself. Written by Rita A. Manfredi, MD, FACEP, and Julia M. Huber, MD, FACEP, the book presents the emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, social, and intellectual well-being spokes of life in emergency medicine. This page is also home to more resources on a variety of topics that contribute to physician mental health: litigation stress, burnout, posttraumatic stress disorder, work schedules, and more.
Your mental health can be affected by physical issues, including hospital policies that make it difficult for you to eat and drink during your shift. (“Hangry” is a real emotion.) Earlier this year, ACEP worked with The Joint Commission to clarify its policies related to eating and drinking in the emergency department. Need to convince your administrators? We’ve provided resources to make your case at www.acep.org/letseat.
We Need Your Input
Many of these member benefits and resources, including the “Let’s Eat” clarification, originated from member suggestions. One way we can help lighten your mental load is by working to eliminate onerous regulations that add to your administrative burden, but we need your help to identify those thorns in your side. We recently conducted an all-member survey asking you to identify the regulations that are most frustrating, and we received 952 responses. We sent your feedback to The Joint Commission to identify more ways we can work together to reduce your burden.
If you have additional suggestions, your input is always welcome at email@example.com.