Burnout, positive screening for depression and suicidal ideation are areas of concern among residents and physicians.
In 2017, the CMA launched the CMA National Physician Health Survey (NPHS) to generate an up-to-date baseline dataset to help inform and advance physician health initiatives. The survey measured an assortment of variables, including psychological variables, such as mental health (social, psychological and emotional well-being), resilience, burnout, depression (screening) and suicidal ideation; behavioural variables, for example, fatigue, diet, physical activity and substance use; and occupational variables, including collegiality, work-life integration, workload and control/flexibility; as well as awareness of physician health services, use of such services and barriers to access. The survey results revealed areas of concern, such as burnout, depression and suicidal ideation, with rates being relatively higher among residents, women and physicians in the first five years of practice.
Looking ahead, the CMA will be releasing data on behavioural and occupational measures, as well as comparisons with other physician health datasets and with the general population.
Physicians and other stakeholders are encouraged to reflect on the results of the NPHS and refer to the new CMA Policy on Physician Health, which provides several recommendations related to individual- and system-level actions that should be pursued to promote physician health. Indeed, strengthening physician health and wellness is a shared responsibility, requiring change at all levels of the health system to promote a healthy physician workforce.
Key Findings from the CMA NPHS:
- 82% reported resilience (high)
- 58% classified as flourishing, 4% languishing, and 30% moderately mentally healthy
- 30% reported burnout (high)
- 34% screened positive for depression
- 19% experienced suicidal ideation at some point in their life, 8% in the last 12 months