While it is widely reported that physicians’ mental health is worsening, barriers to seeking mental health care remain unacceptably high.
In the spring and summer of 2021, representatives from the
IHI Leadership Alliance collaborated to identify opportunities for collective and longitudinal action to eliminate physician credentialing- and licensing-related impediments to seeking mental health care. The
Help Health Care Heal Coalition is a special interest Call to Action initiative hosted by the IHI Leadership Alliance that was created to collaboratively advance this work.
Remove Barriers to Physicians Seeking Mental Health Care
In January 2022,
Modern Healthcare published an article, "The connection between credentialing and physician mental health: a call to action," co-authored by Dr. Eileen Barrett, who serves as faculty for the IHI Leadership Alliance. While health care leaders continue to commend the ways in which physicians and the entire health care workforce have compassionately cared for the sick during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are five concrete actions leaders can take today to support physicians as they continue this vital work. Dr. Barrett co-authored an additional article, "Reducing health care barriers for hospitalists," in collaboration with coalition members oultining further action health care leaders can take.
- Determine how your organization asks questions related to physician mental health on credentialing applications.
- Identify how your state medical board presently asks questions related to physician mental health on licensing applications.
- Advocate for the recommended non-stigmatizing questions and supportive language to be used among healthcare organizations, state medical boards and insurers.
- Identify and mitigate barriers to physicians seeking mental health care.
- Encourage investments in evidence-based research and interventions that promote and protect physician mental health.
Spread This Work in Your Organization
The Coalition has developed a set of slides and talking points that you can use to spread this work in your organization and eliminate barriers to physicians and residents seeking mental health care.
IHI H3 coalition slides.pptx
Talking points when asking an organization to support physicians.pdf
Send this email to your privileging or credentialing office to request changing your application.docx
Add this slide to any upcoming presentation, on using tools to reduce stigma in medical applications.pptx
Responses to Common Qs When You're Asking that Applications Don't Stigmatize Mental Health.pdf
Student presentation to attendings on Reducing Barriers to Mental Health Care for Students and Physicians .pptx
Send this email to your Dean of Student Affairs to request not asking about mental health on credentialing applications.docx
Helping Healthcare Heal Coalition references and resources.pdf