Physician burnout has been a crisis for many years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, well-being and emotional support resources for physicians are not always widely accessible or well-known. The American College of Physicians (ACP) saw a need to address this issue, using their platform as a national organization with more than 161,000 members.
Physicians’ busy schedules and scattered well-being resources hinder access to care. ACP’s solution: the I.M. Emotional Support Hub, a unified platform for easy resource access.
“We saw an urgent need to surface the critical well-being resources available for physicians, and the I.M. Emotional Support Hub helps get these resources in the hands of physicians that need them the most as quickly and easily as possible with minimal clicks,” said Susan Hingle, MD, MACP, Chair of the ACP Well-being and Professional Fulfillment Committee, Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Humanities, Associate Dean for the Center for Human and Organizational Potential, Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Director of Professional Development and Wellness at SIU School of Medicine.
In addition to just-in-time resources, a section highlighting long-term national system change efforts through the Advocacy Toolkit to Modernizing License and Credentialing Applications to Not Stigmatize Mental Health is featured.
According to a previous ACP Internist interview with now ACP Board of Regents Chair Eileen Barrett, MD, MPH, MACP, “I hope that everybody who reads this article, that the first thing that they do is work to change their credentialing applications to not ask about mental health.”
Dr. Barrett also encourages being proactive about sharing the resources, recommends physicians and their teams add those mental health resources as contacts to their phone for easy use and sharing, and suggests hosting a grand rounds on this topic.
The I.M. Emotional Support Hub serves as a reminder for physicians that it is common to feel overwhelmed, stressed or depressed, and there are resources to help. Each of the resources included went through an extensive vetting process, incorporating the perspectives of physicians from medical school through retirement. The Hub includes a collection of peer support resources, free and low-cost counseling and support resources for individuals, teams, organizations and leadership. Additionally, ACP includes specific well-being resources for medical students and residents.
In addition to communicating directly with its members about these resources, ACP’s network of Well-being Champions has also successfully distributed and amplified these resources within its communities throughout the country.
“Ultimately, the goal is to help physicians understand that they are not alone,” said Cynthia (Daisy) Smith, MD, FACP, ACP’s Chief Membership and Engagement Officer. “We want every physician who uses these resources to feel supported and know that seeking help is not only normal. It is a sign of strength.”
Visit the ACP’s Physician Well-being and Professional Fulfillment Page to learn more.