How We Can Help

Doctor

For Physicians

We provide confidential help, referrals and counselling for physical and mental health issues, plus a wide range of other concerns, including: relationship challenges, substance use, career transitions, and financial issues, colleagues at risk, burnout, and occupational health questions.

Couple

For Family Members

We provide help to partners and dependent children of any physician, resident or medical student licensed in BC. Call our 24/7 helpline to access discreet, confidential support for a wide range of challenges, or to express concern for a physician who could be in distress.

Doctor

For Resident Doctors

Whether you are seeking help for yourself or a colleague, we offer a range of services to resident doctors licensed in BC. Our services are supportive, private and personalized. From physical and mental health issues to career challenges, we are here to help you.

Student

For Medical Students

Medical students with educational licenses in BC are eligible for our services. Please contact us for confidential help with any physical and mental health issues, including substance use, relationship and workload stress, career challenges, and more.

How we helped

It’s really, really common to feel stressed out during residency. One recurring theme is the question of competence. That’s a big thing in residency: not feeling like you’re ever good enough. Probably all residents feel this way to some degree. Not everybody talks about it, and people deal with it in different ways. But it’s important to recognize that it’s okay if you are feeling this way. There are so many places that will support you, and that will respect your confidentiality.

- Early career physician

How we helped

I’ve already recommended [the PHP] like at least three times! I’ve given colleagues of mine who are residents, even across Canada, information about PHP and how it helps.

- Early career physician

How we helped

The PHP person on the phone co-ordinated with me by e-mail, ensuring that I could make it to my scheduled appointments, and followed up with me afterward. She set me up with a psychologist after I had an assessment with a psychiatrist. She checked back with me several times. She contacted me after I had completed all my appointments, it was really nice—like coming full circle.

- Early career physician

How we helped

An intake counsellor responded quickly, and spent a good amount of time trying understand my story, where I was coming from, and what I needed. And then they offered me an appointment with a counsellor, and told me that I would be contacted by a physician over the phone.

- Early career physician

How we helped

The year was particularly stressful for me, because it was my final year of residency with the pressure of getting all the knowledge in—like that last chance kind of feeling, combined with having to study for my exam, as well as planning my wedding—all those factors just ramped up the stress level for me, and the anxiety.

- Early career physician

How we helped

Those of us who go into medicine, we tend to be very perfectionistic, we want to do everything right, we’ve got very high standards. We’re hard on ourselves.

- Late career physician

How we helped

Oh absolutely, I would recommend PHP! I have no trouble with believing that it’s very confidential, do you know what I mean. So I don’t worry about stigma coming back at me at all. So I would recommend it. It really felt like Cadillac care.

- Late career physician

How we helped

The quality of the program and the questions that [the counsellor] asked, I felt helped immediately by having the feeling of validation. That was a really powerful thing.

- Late career physician

How we helped

[Calling the PHP] was so instant, like a lifeline. It really was like seeing a life preserver on a boat. I mean really, I had been ruminating for months and feeling terrible, and then for some reason that day, that BCMJ ad just said, “You’d better call.”

- Late career physician

How we helped

I had moved to my community two years prior to [calling the PHP], and my doctor still practiced in the community I moved from. So going go my doctor is a big production. And I don’t have a doctor here so, the PHP call really made a difference.

- Late career physician

How we helped

The very next day [after I called] I had a very good discussion with a counsellor – it was supposed to go for one hour, but I think it was closer to an hour and a half. I was offered the opportunity very quickly to explain my problem, and that was a great start.

- Late career physician

How we helped

I have a history of depression and I was feeling pretty badly. I had suicidal ideation and I was really struggling, so it felt like this was the fastest way to get help.

- Late career physician

How we helped

Sure it’s difficult, but knowing that the Physician Health Program is available, and you actually talk to real live people who are there to do nothing but support you, that’s all you could ask for.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

In the type of work that we do, we carry a lot of burden from our patients. And a lot of us rely on coping methods we might have used in university, whether it be alcohol or whatever. Often we don’t know our own warning signs.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

I think oftentimes we physicians feel that we can heal ourselves because we have access to all the medical information. But it’s important never to be your own doctor, and we need to follow that advice more than anything.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

What’s really ironic in some ways is that we ask our patients every single day to trust another person: to be open, to be honest, to be vulnerable. And I think as physicians we often need to learn how to do that. Because without doing that we actually can’t do a good job of taking care of our patients.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

When I reached out to [the PHP] they were incredibly supportive. They linked me up with one of their physicians right away, who spoke with me.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

I think the hardest part initially is just to reach out, pick up the phone and talk to somebody that you don’t know.

- Mid-career physician

How we helped

I realized I was exhibiting a lot of symptoms. I couldn’t sleep well at night, I had difficulty concentrating and I felt like I was lagging behind at work. So I knew that I wanted to reach out…

- Mid-career physician