How We Can Help

Services For Resident Doctors

Clinical Services

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.

Physician Peer Support Group

We offer a free drop-in peer support group for physicians and residents via Zoom. Participants may join anonymously and/or just listen.

Services for Physicians

What happens when you call?

A description of what your interactions may look like when you call PHP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to common questions you may have about PHP and our services.

24HR
1.800.663.6729

How we helped

I reached out to PHP because of my worsening anxiety. The PHP service is very accessible and though my first counselor was not helpful, the PHP Clinical Coordinator followed up till I found someone whom I respected and trusted. After their support, I am trying to speak my truth more and tell people how I feel rather than just expecting them to change.
— Mid career physician

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

I had doubts and was skeptical about what PHP would offer and whether I would derive any benefit. I imagined that I would end up having access to a counsellor of some sort, but wasn’t sure about whether that was sufficient or specific enough. When I did reach out, I was surprised with the personalized package of resources that were available and designed for me. Most importantly, the support was not based on short term crisis intervention, which is what I thought it might be. It was based on a combination of short-term crisis support and long term practitioner health. That was what benefitted me the most because I was able to identify the several factors that led me to my current situation. The conversation was done in a blameless and non-critical way, and as a result of that, I accepted more easily suggestions on how to seek functional improvement. The Clinical Coordinator offered me a variety of services, which included connection with a clinical psychologist, a psychiatrist and a CBT Skills Group.
— Mid career physician

I was going through a very rough time in my professional and personal life. There was bullying at work where I did not feel supported. I felt burned out, and suicidal. After connecting with PHP, I am in intensive counselling to deal with PTSD/Depression/Anxiety. I have found joy in my family and kids again. I feel like they need me to be in their life, and I have value and worth just because I am human. My worth isn’t only in being a doctor.
— Mid career physician

The initial response and intake process from PHP was very rapid and responsive. It was really efficient and I think that’s important for doctors facing time pressures. I also appreciated being provided local and in-person resources. After seeking support, I started feeling better, supported, optimistic and less alone.
— Late career physician

The biggest difference I’ve experienced after reaching out to PHP is new insight into myself. Understanding that I have not loved myself, learning to be non-judgmental with myself and to be sensitive to what other people are going through. This has been a gift for me.
— Late career physician

Within days of contacting PHP, I had a contact person, was set up with a community based Clinical Counsellor, had a visit with a PHP physician and had one of my children also connected. If you have been considering reaching out for help, PHP is a safe place to start.
— Mid career physician

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

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

PHP was flexible with the way they interacted with my daughter. She was very hesitant about accepting help, but PHP managed to figure out a way to connect with her. Talking to someone was a big step for her and they were very supportive. The amount of supports the Clinical Coordinator was able to get so quickly exceeded my expectations. They got her into an executive functioning course, set her up with a psychiatrist and a coach. There was recognition of the problem and an innovative way to treat it, and that made a big difference.
— Mid career physician

I contacted PHP because I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed by a child with behavioural issues and a breakdown in my marriage. I was impressed with the amount and duration of follow up that was provided. With their support, I changed my parenting style and created a safe space at home for my child, which has fostered better relationships and a happy home life for everyone in the family. Don’t hesitate to contact PHP for support. Their services are confidential and have the potential to affect positive change in you and your loved one’s lives.
— Mid career physician

I reached out to PHP because I wanted to develop enhanced leadership skills for use in my position as department head. I was impressed by the organization and the prompt follow up I received. After getting support from PHP, I have found managing the difficult interpersonal situations that arise in my dealings with administration easier.
— Mid career physician

Do not hesitate to call the PHP number anytime day or night. It allows you to speak to someone to offload some of those stressors that maybe you can’t in other settings. We carry a lot on our shoulders and oftentimes we might not have an outlet in our spouses or family or colleagues available always. Having an anonymous person who if familiar with your very specific and unique circumstances as a physician really provides a safe space to share things that you might not otherwise have.
— Mid career physician

What exceeded my expectations the most was the continuity. My Clinical Coordinator actually continued to check in every several months. That was phenomenal because it gave me a feeling that someone out there still cared about me, so that was stabilizing in a way.
— Late career physician

My experience is that the staff at PHP are welcoming and very professional. Dealing with PHP is rather a calming experience and not a threatening one.
— Late career physician

I was worried that other doctors would find out I was using PHP or that the doctors in PHP would be people I work with. However, after discussing with a confidant, they suggested PHP and I felt more comfortable reaching out after speaking with them. When I did contact them, my clinical coordinator made a point to follow-up in a gentle and encouraging way every few months. I am now well equipped with CBT skills, better habits for myself, and a significant improvement in both self awareness and how to tackle my own depression. I continue to seek therapy, as a personal choice, on my journey to fully optimize my own care. If you are thinking about it, do it. Take the time to find out what manner of support is best for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for that help.
— Early career physician

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 to 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

This was my third time accessing PHP services. I was experiencing severe anxiety and burnout at work. But with the kindness and support from the staff at PHP, I have cut down my hours significantly after being chronically overworked and I still see the therapist they connected me with regularly. I can tell they genuinely care about me and how I do.
— Mid career physician

Even though I had some logistical difficulties connecting with the specific counsellors who had been assigned to me, my Clinical Coordinator was always there as a constant. She is very respectful. It was helpful just to have someone to actually listen and who knew about doctors issues. Just that human contact was probably the most important thing for me at that time.
— Late career physician

After receiving support from PHP, the stress level for our family dropped significantly. Everything became a little easier to cope with at home and we are all getting along a lot better. My daughter is learning to manage her own issues, has realized that she needed some expert advice and was able to actually get that help. This help has been pivotal to changing her future.
— Mid career physician

I was immediately relieved by the response I got after having taken the largest obstacle of making contact with PHP. The response was not only confidential, but also personal, human, and reassuring. It felt like speaking to a close friend, especially when speaking to the Program Physician, who was the first person I spoke to. The Program Physician had immediate sympathy because they were in the same profession. It required less effort and less stress to talk about my issues and difficulties with someone who had the same background.
— Mid career physician

After getting help from PHP, I have less hesitancy and shame in seeking professional help. Physicians try to function independently and not admit that they are part of the population of humans that get sick and are fallible. Through working with PHP, I have accepted my own weaknesses and fallibility and I’m able to get help for them.
— Mid career physician

I had to dive to the bottom before reaching out for help, and I don’t think my colleagues need to get there. The one thing I’d like to say is that people should acknowledge that they need to reach out earlier, and that they will be met by people with extraordinary kindness at PHP.
— Late career physician

I felt that I was really given a tailored approach to some of the issues I was facing. My clinical coordinator gave me a menu of different options. Not only was I offered the traditional short term counselling, but she gave me a list of longer term counsellors I could connect with, focus groups that might be available, peer support and coaching. I was really pleased with all of the services offered.
— Mid career physician

Right from the beginning, my Program Physician and Clinical Coordinator were extraordinary. Their kindness, combined with a lack of judgement, allowed me to trust the process of getting help, which is not easy for me. I am always in control, I am always the one fixing things.
— Late career physician

I undertook about 6 sessions of coaching which I had never experienced before. It was really helpful to set some very targeted goals for the sessions we were going to have. The burnout and lack of joy in my day to day life was a big issue. Setting those goals with my coach, and then working through that – it was one of the the biggest changes I have achieved. I definitely have more joy in my day to day life, more joy in my work, and I don’t feel as overwhelmed and burnt out as I did when I started. I feel it’s been very effective.
— Mid career physician

PHP was persistent in maintaining contact, ensuring that follow up was pre-emptive. I was not in the state of having sufficient energy or insights to want to continue being involved with PHP, so I appreciated the planned follow up rather than relying on me to follow up. Even after my case closed, my Clinical Coordinator and Program Physician were available to me if new ideas, stresses or concerns arose.
— Mid career physician

I went from feeling I had no care, to feeling like I was surrounded by care. I had three people I could phone if I had to. It made more difference than just about anything.
— Late career physician

I was somewhat nervous about calling, I was not used to reaching out for help. But PHP helped me get in contact with a coach and a counselor that helped pull me out of my depressive cycle and got me back on track and back to working.
— Early career physician

I was going through a period of adjustment and some family stressors. After reaching out to PHP, I have learned to stand my ground, be more confident and manage my anxiety much better. I’m also learning to adjust to this changing stage in life. I believe the service to be an excellent resource for physicians who often need timely support in the event of personal crises/stress and are often unsure where to turn. We too are only human when all is said and done.
— Late career physician

When I first called the PHP helpline, I was in a place of despair. Within the space of a few short minutes, the intake worker moved me to a place of hope. Help was finally on the way.
— Late career physician

Within 2 weeks of reaching out to PHP, my clinical coordinator went beyond my expectations with how she procured everything – I had a BC Health Card, a family doctor, a psychiatrist, a rheumatologist and a psychotherapist. I was really impressed with the support and had I not received it, I was considering moving back to my home province where I have friends, family and a successful practice. Thanks to PHP, I’m staying in BC, I’m on the right treatment with the right specialists, I’m feeling 80% better and I’m starting a new job soon.
— Mid career physician

I was surprised when I got emails for regular check-ins to see how I was doing. I felt like I was not forgotten.
— Early career physician

I love the connection that I have with my PHP Clinical Coordinator. She is wonderfully supportive and a great point person for helping find the right counsellor fit. She was able to connect me with psychiatry the first day! She has answered emails and phone calls often. She made me feel heard and that what I was going through was horrendous and that it would get better (with work and help). Do it. Just call PHP. They have resources that will help you.
— Mid career physician

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

I have developed greater awareness of each day and moment through the mindfulness training I was connected to by PHP. This has improved my own health and I’d like to think it has improve my patients’ wellness as well. We need to maintain these skills – much like the importance of physical exercise , it’s easy to get of mental shape.
— Mid career physician

I have encouraged all of my colleagues to reach out and connect with counselling services that are more understanding of the physician point of view and issues that come up for physicians. I think that this is a great opportunity for physicians to be able to talk through some of the issues they’re facing and gain the benefits that we so often try to provide our patients. This is really a specialized area where someone will help us so I see it as a huge opportunity.
— Late career physician

I had to dive to the bottom before reaching out for help, and I don’t think my colleagues need to get there. The one thing I’d like to say is that people should acknowledge that they need to reach out earlier, and that they will be met by people with extraordinary kindness at PHP.
— Late career physician

It was comforting to know that I was not the only physician in similar circumstances and there are people ready and willing to help.
— Mid career physician

I was impressed by the professionalism, the amount of time and resources which opened up to me and the close follow up to make sure that I was alright. I have not been anxiety free since being a teenager. Since receiving support through the PHP (and continuing on a small dosage of an SSRi), I have experienced a reduction of my symptoms to a level not experienced before.
— Late career physician

I was seeking advice and support for managing a difficult situation as a physician leader. Working in a small community, it is essential to maintain confidentiality but this can lead to a sense of isolation when it is inappropriate to talk about matters of sensitivity with local colleagues. I was initially hesitant to reach out to PHP because I didn’t know what to expect, but when I did, the level of support I received was excellent. My PHP Clinical Coordinator arranged for physician coaching to help with navigating some professional interpersonal challenges. I have found the assistance to be solutions-focused and a good use of my time. I now feel more confident in how I am managing situations of conflict and difficult conversations.
— Early career physician

I have reached out during various stages of my training, sometimes as a student, sometimes as a resident with different stressors. I always knew it was a place I could turn to. I didn’t have any particular fears or barriers to calling. More than anything else, it’s just finding the time to call. Things are busy and just keep on going. The availability of the line being 24/7 makes a huge difference. I think I called it at 11pm one night while I was on call because that was the moment I had some time.
— Mid career physician

Unfortunately the stigma of mental health issues may result in many health care providers to deny they have problems or feel they are immune. My only regret is not calling earlier. The PHP is an essential program which has improved my quality of life.
— Mid career physician