Why Do Healthcare Professionals Face Mental Health Issues?

Why Do Healthcare Professionals Face Mental Health Issues?

Professionals are not immune to the challenges of mental health issues and substance abuse. Anxiety, depression, and the constant pressure to succeed can push some professionals over the edge who feel there is no way to cope with everything they have to accomplish. There is also a taboo that keeps healthcare professionals in silence about suffering from mental illness. Let’s look at ways healthcare professionals are struggling to cope and how to support a loved one with mental health issues.

Masking the Pain

Doctors can become really good at putting on a mask and telling everyone they are fine. Especially if their lives look great from the outside, it can feel like they have to keep up appearances to sustain their jobs, families, and sense of self-worth. Many times, that self-worth is tied inextricably into their work. This kind of masking pain is learned early in training to come across as stoic, turn up at work no matter what, and never tell anyone you’re suffering from anyone. Doctors do not always have the easiest or best access to mental health care because of the stigma and challenges of anonymity.


Many healthcare professionals may fear disclosure of mental health issues because they do not want to risk losing their careers over it. The challenge for them also lies in confidentiality. Their personal details could find their way into some medical notes that compromise future employment opportunities as well as their livelihoods. The shame and stigma of mental health issues may lead many professionals to find ways of self-medicating or creating their own do-it-yourself routine that allows them to fix themselves.

Patient or Professional

Nobody wants to face mental health issues alone. However, the stigma can force people into hiding, especially professionals in healthcare who are supposed to be perfect in most every way. At least in the patient’s eyes, that is how medical professionals are seen. They are supposed to have it all together, yet they suffer silently quite often with the effects of their work, biology, addiction that takes hold, and many other things. Doctors sometimes suffer because they place the needs of their patients above themselves as patient, idealizing their own work in that they are not vulnerable to the same issues as their patients. The reality is that they are just as susceptible as the next person and need even more care due to the line of work often find themselves in. For medical professionals, the hope lies in seeking change within a system that stigmatizes mental health issues for people from all walks of life, but also challenges people to see their own symptoms as just part of themselves, not the whole of themselves. Medical professionals can find help from specialized treatment programs that care for their needs while also maintaining anonymity and protecting their careers, health, and their livelihoods. Compassion is one of the ways people can support loved ones through mental health issues but also seeking the right support that works for them and provides a pathway to healing.

Palmetto provides a safe space to be vulnerable with a high level of confidentiality for those who seek help. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.