The medical profession has long been plagued by professional stress, burnout, and exhaustion. While mental health in the medical field has gained significant attention in countries like the United States, it has yet to receive adequate recognition in India. On the occasion of National Doctors’ Day, observed on July 1, a recent survey conducted by the Indian Medical Association has shed light on the alarming stress levels experienced by doctors in the country.
The survey revealed that over 80 per cent of doctors are overwhelmed and stressed. It pointed out that fear of violence is the primary stressor in many doctors (46.3 per cent), followed by fear of being sued (24.2 per cent) and fear of criminal prosecution (13.7 per cent).Conducted online over a period of 15 days, the survey received responses from 1,681 doctors including general practitioners, physicians, surgeons, gynaecologists and superspecialists working in private outpatient departments, nursing homes, corporate hospitals, and government hospitals. It highlighted the pressing need to prioritise the mental health of healthcare professionals.Acknowledging the multiple challenges that doctors face, including long working hours, high patient expectations, emotional exhaustion, and the burden of making critical decisions, Dr Pradeep Mahajan, a regenerative medicine expert, and stem cell researcher, said that neglecting mental well-being could lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, ultimately affecting both doctors and patient care.