Barriers, facilitators, and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Johanna Spiers
  • Marta Buszewicz
  • Carolyn A Chew-Graham
  • Clare Gerada
  • David Kessler
  • Nick Leggett
  • Chris Manning
  • Anna Kathryn Taylor
  • Gail Thornton

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University College London
  • Keele University
  • Riverside Medical Centre
  • College of Medicine
  • University of Bristol

Abstract

BACKGROUND: GPs are under increasing pressure due to a lack of resources, a diminishing workforce, and rising patient demand. As a result, they may feel stressed, burnt out, anxious, or depressed.

AIM: To establish what might help or hinder GPs experiencing mental distress as they consider seeking help for their symptoms, and to explore potential survival strategies.

DESIGN AND SETTING: The authors recruited 47 GP participants via e-mails to doctors attending a specialist service, adverts to local medical committees (LMCs) nationally and in GP publications, social media, and snowballing. Participants self-identified as either currently living with mental distress, returning to work following treatment, off sick or retired early as a result of mental distress, or without experience of mental distress. Interviews were conducted face to face or over the telephone.

METHOD: Transcripts were uploaded to NVivo 11 and analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Barriers and facilitators were related to work, stigma, and symptoms. Specifically, GPs discussed feeling a need to attend work, the stigma surrounding mental ill health, and issues around time, confidentiality, and privacy. Participants also reported difficulties accessing good-quality treatment. GPs also talked about cutting down or varying work content, or asserting boundaries to protect themselves.

CONCLUSION: Systemic changes, such as further information about specialist services designed to help GPs, are needed to support individual GPs and protect the profession from further damage.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e700-e708
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Volume67
Issue number663
Early online date29 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • mental health services, selfcare, anxiety, burnout, professional, depression, general practice

Sustainable Development Goals