40% of physicians don't seek mental healthcare for fear of losing their license

A recent study by Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic found that 40 percent of physicians would be reluctant to seek help for mental health issues because they fear it would affect the status of their medical license.

A team of Mayo researchers — led by Liselotte Dyrbye, MD, — obtained licensure application forms from all 50 states and renewal forms from 47 states, and reviewed results from 5829 physician surveys conducted between August and October 2014.

Dr. Dyrbye's team found that two-thirds of states have licensure renewal forms that don't limit mental health inquiries to current conditions, but also ask about past conditions. In these states, physicians were less likely to seek help for mental health problems.

"Many state licensing boards ask questions about mental health diagnoses or treatment. The fact that licensing boards inquire about these dimensions is believed to be a major deterrent to help seeking among troubled physicians, many of whom have treatable disorders," the study's authors wrote.

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