It’s OK to Seek Support

If you think you might be experiencing, or heading towards, burnout, the strongest message is this: there’s no stigma and no shame in asking for help.

Healthcare professionals are justifiably proud of their hard work and commitment. They know how important it is to build and maintain safe and trusting relationships with colleagues and patients. And, like most people, they value their strength and resilience.

Burnout, which develops as a result of chronic, untreated stress, can reduce the clinician’s professional capacity, undermine their relationships and threaten their emotional and physical wellbeing. The cost – to their patients, their employers and colleagues, and to themselves – is too high.

For various reasons, medical professionals delay seeking help. They might:

  • Fail to recognise their own human limitations
  • Continue to place others’ needs ahead of their own
  • Accept exhaustion and stress as ‘part of the job’
  • Perceive the problem as weakness, and ‘work through it’
  • Fear lack of understanding, judgement or stigma.

Burnout is not about personal failures or shortcomings. It is now understood that the causes of burnout are often closely connected with the structures and conditions of the workplace. And work that primarily focuses on caring for other people – that is, the work of healthcare professionals – is even more likely to be associated with an exhausting schedule and a stress-filled environment.

That does not mean you have to endure chronic exhaustion and stress.

Seeking support to halt or reverse the early signs of burnout is also a call to explore and adjust conditions and stressors in the workplace.

It requires self-awareness to recognise and acknowledge what is happening. It demands a commitment to self-care to make a decision to act. And it shows great strength to take the first step and ask for support and help.

That’s a plus for everyone. See what our Peer Reachout Service has to offer.