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Barriers, facilitators, and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress: a qualitative study.

Spiers, Johanna; Buszewicz, Marta; Chew-Graham, Carolyn A; Gerada, Clare; Kessler, David; Leggett, Nick; Manning, Chris; Kathryn Taylor, Anna; Thornton, Gail; Riley, Ruth

Barriers, facilitators, and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress: a qualitative study. Thumbnail


Johanna Spiers

Marta Buszewicz

Clare Gerada

David Kessler

Nick Leggett

Chris Manning

Anna Kathryn Taylor

Gail Thornton

Ruth Riley


BACKGROUND: GPs are under increasing pressure due to a lack of resources, a diminishing workforce, and rising patient demand. As a result, they may feel stressed, burnt out, anxious, or depressed. AIM: To establish what might help or hinder GPs experiencing mental distress as they consider seeking help for their symptoms, and to explore potential survival strategies. DESIGN AND SETTING: The authors recruited 47 GP participants via e-mails to doctors attending a specialist service, adverts to local medical committees (LMCs) nationally and in GP publications, social media, and snowballing. Participants self-identified as either currently living with mental distress, returning to work following treatment, off sick or retired early as a result of mental distress, or without experience of mental distress. Interviews were conducted face to face or over the telephone. METHOD: Transcripts were uploaded to NVivo 11 and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Barriers and facilitators were related to work, stigma, and symptoms. Specifically, GPs discussed feeling a need to attend work, the stigma surrounding mental ill health, and issues around time, confidentiality, and privacy. Participants also reported difficulties accessing good-quality treatment. GPs also talked about cutting down or varying work content, or asserting boundaries to protect themselves. CONCLUSION: Systemic changes, such as further information about specialist services designed to help GPs, are needed to support individual GPs and protect the profession from further damage.

Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2017
Publication Date Sep 29, 2017
Journal British Journal of General Practice
Print ISSN 0960-1643
Publisher Royal College of General Practitioners
Pages 700-708
Keywords anxiety; burnout; professional; depression; general practice; mental health services; self-care
Publisher URL


C Chew Graham - Barriers, facilitators and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress.pdf (485 Kb)

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