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Support for members – where to get help

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

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

For any type of problem, a good place to start is your local doctors’ health advisory service. The helplines are staffed by doctors with expertise in treating other doctors, and can provide you with confidential, anonymous assistance over the phone for both health and personal issues.

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 AMA Tasmania Peer Support Service 1300 853 338 8am – 10pm daily
  Victorian Doctors' Health Program (03) 9495 6011 9am – 5pm weekdays
Clinical services also available
VIC AMA Victorian Peer Support Service 1300 853 338 8am – 10pm daily
  Victorian Doctors' Health Program (03) 9495 6011 9am – 5pm weekdays
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 Helpline 1800 128 268
Medical Protection Society 0800 225 5677
MIGA 1800 777 156 
MIPS 1800 021 223
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 NSW (02) 9987 0504
NSW Medical Benevolent Association NSW (02) 9987 0504
QLD Medical Benevolent Association of Queensland (07) 3872 2222
SA Medical Benevolent Association of South Australia (08) 8361 0107
VIC Medical Benevolent Association of Victoria (03) 9496 4205
WA AMA Benevolent Fund of WA mail@ama.com.au
New Zealand New Zealand 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 1800 888 236
Gambling Help Online 1800 858 858
Quit 1378 48

New Zealand

Alcohol and 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 notification or the Medical Board of New Zealand's Health concerns 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.