Rural Emergency Medicine

A week ago it was R U OK? Day. Did you ask a family member, friend or colleague how they were feeling?

Depression can affect anyone at some point and it is important to recognise it, and seek help from others. Doctor's in particular can face a lot of stress, often working long hours under intense pressure.

Earlier in the week the 7:30 Report on ABC took a look into a typical 24hr period in an Emergency Department. It tells the story of both the demands placed upon Doctors, and how it is ok for Doctors to seek help.

Doctors play a vital role within society, and it is important that they take the time, where possible, to address their own health issues. A number of studies have shown that depression and burnout is more prevalent within the Medical fraternity then the general population. More recently a study (BMJ, 2008) showed that 20% of residents could be diagnosed as clinically depressed, and they made 6.2 times more prescription errors than their colleagues. Like the rest of the world Doctors need to look after themselves first sometimes, if they are to do the greatest amount of good.

When seeking help for mental health issues there are a number of services in Australia available to individuals, each catering for different needs. Some are listed below.

Beyond Blue -
A national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related drug and alcohol problems in Australia.
Infoline: 1300 22 4636
BeyondBlue (young people) -

BluePages -
Has resources for self-assessment of depression, different treatments (medical, psychological & alternative) relaxation tapes and much more.

Lifeline -
Lifeline provides 24-hour telephone counselling services nationally.
Phone: 13 11 14

Mensline Australia -
Mensline supports men in many aspects of their mental health, but specifically helps them with family and relationship difficulties.
Phone: 1300 789 978

With exams coming up for the student population, stress is mounting and moods can be volatile. Here are some resources for Australian students.

Reach Out! -
Resources for stressed out young people. The website includes stories, forums and tips.

University Contacts

Best of luck to all those studying for exams, I'll see you on the other-side. Secondly, no matter what the occasion take a look around you and offer somebody struggling a hand.


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