Attitudes of Canadian psychiatry residents if mentally ill: awareness, barriers to disclosure, and help-seeking preferences

Tariq Mahmood Hassan, Tanya Tran, Mir Nadeem Mazhar, Nam Doan, Tariq Munshi, Neeraj Bajaj, Dianne Groll, Niall Galbraith

Abstract


Background: The medical culture is defined by mental illness stigma, non-disclosure, and avoidance of professional treatment. Little research has explored attitudes and help-seeking behaviors of psychiatry trainees if they were to become mentally ill.

Method: Psychiatry residents (n = 106) from training centres across Ontario, Canada completed a postal survey on their attitudes, barriers to disclosure, and help-seeking preferences in the context of hypothetically becoming mentally ill.

Results: Thirty-three percent of respondents reported personal history of mental illness and the frequency of mental illness by year of training did not significantly differ. The most popular first contact for disclosure of mental illness was family and friends (n = 61, 57.5%). Frequent barriers to disclosure included career implications (n = 39, 36.8%), stigma (n = 11, 10.4%), and professional standing (n = 15, 14.2%). Personal history of mental illness was the only factor associated with in-patient treatment choice, with those with history opting for more formal advice versus informal advice.

Conclusions: At the level of residency training, psychiatrists are reporting barriers to disclosure and help-seeking if they were to experience mental illness. A majority of psychiatry residents would only disclose to informal supports. Those with a history of mental illness would prefer formal treatment services over informal services.

Keywords


stigma; psychiatry; trainees; mental illness

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Copyright (c) 2016 Tariq Mahmood Hassan, Tanya Tran, Mir Nadeem Mazhar, Nam Doan, Tariq Munshi, Neeraj Bajaj, Dianne Groll, Niall Galbraith

CMEJ ~ Canadian Medical Education Journal
Jennifer O'Brien PhD, Managing Editor, University of Saskatchewan; E-mail: cmej.manager@usask.ca


ISSN 1923-1202