Anaesthetists face a number of unique challenges as part of their work, which can result in poor mental health and poor general health. The stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide in the general public, combined with the value many doctors place on being the giver of care rather the recipient, can also make it challenging for anaesthetists to seek help when they need it.
The Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) recognises the importance of keeping anaesthetists well at work and for supporting those who need assistance. There has been demonstrated progress made in supporting the welfare of anaesthetists over the past 20 years. The ASA provides wellbeing resources to members and encourages anaesthetists to implement long-term changes to their workplaces.
The Long Lives Healthy Workplaces toolkit is designed for anaesthetists to help create mentally healthy workplaces so they can reduce risks and stress load in the workplace, improve mental health and general wellbeing, build social connections among peers and develop action plans to support good mental health and the prevention of suicide.
The toolkit provides tips to support five strategies that will:
Long Lives, Healthy Workplaces is an initiative of the Welfare of Anaesthetists Special Interest Group and Everymind, with support from the ASA and The Prevention Hub.
We are pleased to present this toolkit to support better mental health and wellbeing for anaesthetists and anaesthetic trainees.
The development of this toolkit was guided by a national steering committee, chaired by Dr Tracey Tay (Specialist Anaesthetist and Director, Perioperative Service at John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW). The committee included the following specialists from around Australia: Drs Prani Shrivastava (Anaesthetist, WA); Suzi Nou (Anaesthetist, VIC); Jane McDonald (Anaesthetist, NSW); Greg Downey (Anaesthetist, NSW); Shirley Prager (Psychiatrist, VIC); and Marion Andrew (Anaesthetist, WA). Other members of the Steering Committee include Jaelea Skehan (Director, Everymind) and Sally Fitzpatrick (Project Lead, Mental Health and Research, Everymind).