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Support for members

Caring for yourself and colleagues during COVID-19

It is more important than ever that you take time to care for yourself as well as take the opportunity to debrief with your colleagues.

The COVID-19 pandemic will place increased pressure on all doctors, including psychiatrists and trainees, with increased patient numbers and needs, changes to standard practice operations and activities, responding to fear and anxiety in the community, and the constant need to stay up to date as the situation evolves.

The College will continue to update and release new wellbeing resources during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as continue to provide its existing services and information that can assist with your own wellbeing, or if you are facing personal or health challenges.

 

Here are some helpful tools available for you right now:

  • The College’s new Keeping Yourself Well guide [PDF; 903 KB] offers members practical support and
    strategies to look after themselves and each other. From stress, to burnout, to self care and looking after each other, Keeping Yourself Well features useful information for psychiatrists and trainees at all stages of their careers.
  • Read our Financial support during COVID-19 guidelines for Australia and New Zealand which summarises available financial aid from the government
  • Your Peer Review Groups provide a vital professional space to discuss challenges in your professional life, share concerns, ideas and options to manage rapidly changing practice needs during the pandemic. Although there are currently restrictions on meeting face-to-face, we recommend that you stay in touch as much as possible, including via virtual group meetings.
  • The Online discussion forums have been re-opened during the COVID-19 pandemic to give members an opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer support and discussion, ask questions of each other, and share resources or information.
  • The Member Welfare Support Line is available for support on any issue that affects your physical or mental wellbeing. This is a free and confidential support service available to all members, with calls answered by the Support Manager. Access the service by calling 1800 941 002 (AUS) or 0800 220 728 (NZ) from 8.30am–5pm AEST Monday–Friday (or call out of hours and leave a message to receive a call-back). You can also contact support@ranzcp.org.
  • The Find a Psychiatrist service will help you to connect with a psychiatrist who specialises in doctors’ health and wellbeing. Visit the College’s Find a Psychiatrist database, and under ‘Has experience with’, select ‘Doctors, psychiatrists or medical students’.
  • Doctors’ health advisory service helplines are available throughout Australia and New Zealand. Staffed by doctors with expertise in treating other doctors, these helplines provide 24/7 confidential, anonymous assistance over the phone with both health and personal issues. Visit the DRS4DRS website for more help and advice.
  • Our top 5 self-care tips for psychiatrists provide basic essential advice that all psychiatrists can put into practice.
  • Support your physical and mental wellbeing with videos and e-health programs. Resources include lifestyle, self-care and rural e-learning modules for members, plus free e-health programs This Way Up, Mood Gym and myCompass.
  • Support for trainees and SIMGs offers a range of support options for those on the pathway to Fellowship. See what services and supports other trainees and SIMGs have found useful in the ‘Staying on track’ video.
  • Support for rural and remote psychiatrists lists specialised support services for psychiatrists working in rural or remote settings, together with pathways to peer support networks of people facing similar challenges.

The College will be rolling out more information and resources to support you during this difficult time, and is committed to supporting you every step of the way.


Feeling burnt out? Mental illness? Drug or alcohol addiction? Physical illness? Financial issues? Relationship problems? Gambling addiction?

Where to get help

If you are a psychiatrist, trainee or SIMG facing health or personal issues, you are not alone.

Many doctors face challenges such as depression and addiction, although few speak about them publicly. 

The RANZCP is committed to supporting any of our members experiencing difficulty.

There are many ways to seek help that are anonymous and confidential. This page lists some good places to start.

Help with health or personal issues

Is it an emergency?

If you are at risk of harming yourself or others, you should get help immediately.

  • Call 000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand.
  • Visit the emergency department at your nearest hospital.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia or 0800 543 354 in New Zealand.

RANZCP Member Welfare Support Line

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Confidential advice is available to all members of the RANZCP. Call for support on any issue that affects your physical or mental wellbeing.

.More about the support line

Doctors' health advisory service helplines

Doctors’ health advisory service helplines are available throughout Australia and New Zealand. These are staffed by doctors with expertise in treating other doctors, and can provide you with 24/7 confidential, anonymous assistance over the phone for both health and personal issues. Visit the DRS4DRS website for more help and advice, or via the details provided below.

ACT Doctors’ Health Advisory Service NSW (02) 9437 6552 24 hours
NSW Doctors’ Health Advisory Service NSW (02) 9437 6552 24 hours
NT Doctors' Health SA (08) 8366 0250 24 hours
SA Doctors' Health SA (08) 8366 0250 24 hours
Clinical services also available
QLD Doctors' Health Advisory Service Queensland (07) 3833 4352 24 hours
TAS

Tasmanian Doctors Health Program

1800 991 997 24 hours
VIC Victorian Doctors Health Program (03) 9280 8712 24 hours
Clinical services also available
WA Doctors' Health Advisory Service WA (08) 9321 3098 24 hours
New Zealand Doctors' Health Advisory Service 0800 471 2654 24 hours

Employee assistance programs

All Australian and New Zealand hospitals have an employee assistance program (EAP) that offers free, confidential consultations to employees. Look for the details in your induction pack or staff common area. Otherwise, your hospital’s human resources department can provide them to you. 

Many medical indemnity insurers offer 24-hour support for medicolegal issues.  

Avant Mutual Helpline 1800 128 268
Medical Protection Society 0800 225 5677
MIGA 1800 777 156 
MIPS 1800 061 113
TEGO Insurance 1300 938 991
MDA National 1800 011 225

Financial problems are more common among doctors than you might expect. Rest assured that you are not alone, and that there are ways to obtain assistance.

Members in financial distress can apply to the RANZCP for an exemption or reduction in subscription fees or to set up a payment plan.

Your medical indemnity insurer may be able to offer useful advice or support if your financial hardship is caused by a medicolegal matter.

Medical benevolent associations in New Zealand and some Australian states can offer short-term financial assistance to doctors in need. Some can also help with providing financial advice.

ACT Medical Benevolent Association of NSW (02) 9987 0504
NSW Medical Benevolent Association of NSW (02) 9987 0504
QLD Medical Benevolent Association of Queensland (07) 3872 2222
SA Medical Benevolent Association of South Australia (08) 8361 0107
VIC Victorian Medical Benevolent Association (03) 9496 4205
WA AMA Benevolent Fund of WA mail@ama.com.au
New Zealand New Zealand Medical Benevolent Fund 0800 656161

Drug, alcohol and gambling addiction are not uncommon among doctors, but the outlook is good for those who seek treatment and have good ongoing support.

Call your local doctors' health advisory service. These services are experienced in advising doctors with drug, alcohol and gambling issues.

Or, try calling one of the following 24-hour helplines: 

Australia

Drug and Alcohol Counselling Online 
Gambling Help Online 1800 858 858
Quit 13 78 48

New Zealand

Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655
Quit 0800 778 778

The RANZCP Code of Ethics states that 'Psychiatrists have a duty to attend to the health and well-being of their colleagues, including trainees and students'.

The RANZCP can offer confidential advice via our Member Welfare Support Line if you are concerned about the health of a psychiatrist or trainee.

Your local doctors' health advisory service can offer anonymous, confidential advice to the family members of doctors, or to doctors concerned about a colleague.

The Heads up website lists practical suggestions on how have a conversation with a colleague you’re concerned about.

If you have good grounds to believe that another doctor's ill health is a serious risk to themselves or their patients, you may need to consider notifying the relevant authority. Refer to the Medical Board of Australia's Guidelines for mandatory notifications or the Medical Council of New Zealand's Health concerns about a doctor page for more information. 

Peer support should be a safe and supportive space to discuss challenges in your professional life and how these impact you.

There are many ways of accessing peer support:

If you feel you would benefit from ad hoc support from a more senior colleague, contact the RANZCP head office or local branch chair with your request.

Australia  
GriefLine 1300 845 745
MensLine 1300 78 99 78
QLife 1800 184 527
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
New Zealand  
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Lifeline Aotearoa 0800 543 354
1787, need to talk? 1737 (free to call or text)
Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865