Support for members – 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.
What do you need assistance with?
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Balint groups
- peer review groups as part of the RANZCP CPD program
- peer support groups run informally in workplaces or other settings (ask around your networks for opportunities to join a group)
- network groups run by the Mental Health Professionals Network (Australia)
- regular events for members run by RANZCP Faculties and Sections or local offices
- doctor's associations such as;
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.