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BMA News, Young Doctors Seek More Help

16 September 2014

Increasing numbers of young, female doctors are seeking help for mental health and addiction problems, according to the medical director of a confidential treatment service.

Clare Gerada on student bullying

GP Clare Gerada (pictured above) runs the PHP (Practitioner Health Programme), a confidential service providing treatment to London-based doctors and dentists with mental health or addiction problems.

Dr Gerada told delegates at this week’s ICPH (International Conference on Physician Health) that, in the five years the PHP had been running, the biggest change she had witnessed related to the number of younger women doctors seeking help.

In 2008/09 there were 27 men and 21 women in the 25-to-35 age group seeking help — one quarter of all doctors using the PHP. In 2012/13, there were 31 men and 101 women and they made up half of those using the PHP.

Dr Gerada said that the peak age for women entering the PHP was 29 to 30 years old.

She said there were several reasons that could be behind this rise in younger female doctors needing treatment for mental health or addiction issues.

She explained: ‘This is a worrying age as well for men, but [these ages] are difficult for women as most of their non-medical cohort are further along the track being in control of their career.’

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