COLLEAGUES & FAMILY
If you suspect that a physician or veterinarian (including residents or students) close to you is struggling with a mental health issue or substance abuse problem give us a call to discuss your concerns. Your first point of contact will be one of our case managers or their assistants.
The PHP is a confidential service provided by the Ontario Medical Association that works independently of the Regulatory Colleges. You and your troubled colleague or family member can remain anonymous and do not have to provide a name or any other identifying information on your first call.
Our case managers will:
- Listen to your concerns
- Offer information, options, and advice if appropriate
- Guide you in planning and organizing an intervention if appropriate
- Make themselves available to speak to the person you are concerned about if that person is willing
- Match you and your health professional colleague or family member to the best possible community resources and support for the issues you raised
We regularly deal with a wide range of issues including stress, burnout, relationships (with partner, family or colleagues), substance use disorders, mental health, and problematic behaviour in the work setting. We have access to a wide range of resources across Ontario including formal assessment and/or treatment services, psychiatrists, GP psychotherapists, private psychotherapists (psychologists and social workers), couples counsellor, and coaches. All of the clinicians on our data base have experience dealing with health professionals.
The workplace is the last place where a health professional will demonstrate unhealthy symptoms. If this problematic behaviour is being observed, it is often considered to be the “tip of the iceberg”. Attempts to cover and minimize the behaviours can serve to enable the person’s illness. This is why it is important to act. Some behaviours that you might observe are:
|Early warning signs||Later signs|
|- Increased expression of negative thoughts, feelings, attitudes
- Wide mood swings
- Increased somatic complaints, illness and fatigue
- Less well dressed and groomed
- Declining reliability, “presenteeism”
- Emergence of unhealthy coping behaviours
- Boundary crossings and violations
- More time at work
- Irritability, angry outbursts at work
For Family Members/Loved Ones
When a person struggles with stress and burnout, or is dealing with problematic mental health symptoms or substance abuse or dependence, their pain is often shared by their loved ones, who describe feeling helpless to assist.
It is difficult to watch a loved one struggle. In addition to the impact your loved ones difficulties have on their physical and emotional health, and relationships, you may also have concerns about potential impacts on their professional role.
The PHP is available to provide support and information to both the person who is struggling, as well as his or her family members. We respect your anonymity, so you don’t even have to provide yours or your loved ones’ name in order to receive services. It is also important that you get support for yourself – this is not a time to shut your support network out. Further, the Canadian Mental health Association (CMHA) and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have a lot of information and programs to support family members and loved ones of the person who is struggling.
Articles on this Web site are published in PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat to read them. If you do not have a copy of Acrobat, you may obtain one free-of charge by clicking on the image below.