Safeguarding the sanity of health professionals

They are the modern-day superheroes who play a critical role in providing quality healthcare to our siblings, parents, children and community. Their whole ethos is centred around helping others – yet the question must be asked, who is helping the health professionals when they face their own health challenges?

The mental health of our valued doctors and health workers is an ongoing concern and, for 85 per cent of doctors, mental illness is not just something they treat but something they suffer from.[1] This is substantially higher compared to mental illness nationwide which affects approximately one in five Australians every year.

The Medical Journal of Australia reports that between 10 and 20 per cent of doctors have suffered from depression, and suicide rates are much higher among doctors compared to other professional groups or the general population.[2]

In March 2019, Aon hosted the Melbourne Health Forum, as part of the inaugural Aon Health Symposium series, which saw some of Australia’s leading health professionals gather to discuss best practice solutions for mitigating imposing mental health issues among health professionals.

The Aon Melbourne Health Forum also explored sleep deprivation and the impacts it can have on an individual level, for the community and for the economy, with recent research showing inadequate sleep led to an estimated $66.3 billion loss in health bills, productivity and wellbeing.[3]

It was a stimulating day full of debates, discussions and solution-sourcing. We delved into the issues surrounding mental health, the impacts of sleep on performance and cognitive behaviour and the risks of not caring for the carers we employ.

Psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Ryan gave a keynote address which focused on understanding the mind-brain-body nexus and new approaches in therapies that can improve and sustain mental health and well-being.

Ultimately, we looked to find the best fitting solutions to support the carers who we so fiercely depend on, and the ways in which we can better protect them in the future.

Learn more about Aon’s support solutions towards creating psychologically healthy workplaces here and find out more about Aon’s employee assessment and selection program here.

Paul Gordon, Principal Consultant at Aon

[1] https://www.medicalprotection.org/uk/articles/85-of-doctors-have-ex...

[2] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2016/205/6/suicide-health-profession...

[3] https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/pdfs/agm/SHF-AnnualR...

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