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Anaesthetic Wellbeing, Crisis & Support Resources

Your health and wellbeing are so important. If you’re looking to get help for yourself or another, here are some resources that may be of use. Work-related problems; bullying; insecurity; career indecision; personal, family or relationship issues; loneliness; mental health flare-ups & crises; addictions; self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Remember that you always have someone to speak to, day or night – friends, family, your peers, an educational supervisor, your TPD, a trusted consultant, your local welfare lead, or an independent professional in person or on the end of the phone as below.

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s mental health and think that you/they are in imminent danger of harm, do not hesitate, and contact the emergency services and/or one of the crisis numbers below.

You are never alone, and there is plenty of support out there. We often worry as healthcare professionals that confidentiality doesn’t or can’t apply to us. That is not the case, and many of the resources below are national and/or avoid you having to attend a place where you may run into colleagues or patients.

Keep talking about fatigue, burnout, mental health issues and ups & downs; the stigma needs to go. All NHS staff deserve to be looked after, and treated with the compassion and dignity that we deliver to our patients in turn.

This page is a work in progress and will be updated regularly. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact Ro Clark, anaesthetic/icu consultant, on rowena.clark@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk with your ideas and feedback. 

Crisis Resources

  • Emergency Department
    • If in doubt about your own or someone else’s safety, contact your local emergency department and/or call 999 for immediate help.
    • Some areas have a 24/7 emergency mental health assessment service. Look out for these local alternatives (same team/service that you would find in the ED) for those who might be put off by presenting in crisis to the your local ED where you may know people from work.

  • The Samaritans
    • A safe place to talk if you’re having suicidal thoughts. Call 116123 from any phone (24/7).

  • Breathing Space
    • For those with low mood or depression; call 0800 838 587 for their free & confidential phone line (24hrs at weekends; 6pm-2am weekdays).

CALM (campaign against living miserably)

  • For men with suicidal thoughts; call 0800 585858 (5pm-midnight, 7 days).
  • They also have a webchat facility if you’d rather text-based communication.

  • Papyrus
    • For people under the age of 35 with suicidal thoughts. Call 0800 0684141 or text 07786 209697 (Mon-Fr 10am-10pm; weekends & bank holidays 2pm-10pm). 

Local Resources

  • Mentoring
    • The purpose of a mentor is to act as a sounding board, a facilitator (i.e. to help you help yourself) and a coach, all within a reasonably structured format that the mentor has been trained in.
    • Each mentoring relationship is different and usually, but not exclusively, deals with work-related problems. Some involve a quick meeting to talk over a specific issue; others more long-standing or complex problems. It can, and hopefully will increasingly, be used as an entirely routine, supportive part of normal personal & professional development throughout one’s career.
    • Mentoring is not counselling, and if a session is felt to be straying into territory that the mentor is not trained in, they can help signpost to alternative options.
    • Local mentors will be happy to be contacted to talk more or arrange a meeting(s); to find a local mentor check on the SICS website under ‘mentoring’ or ask locally. Equally, if you’d rather speak with someone outside the region, it should be easy to do so.
    • For more information, and to arrange contact with a mentors outside the region, visit the Association of Anaesthetists Mentoring Site or find more on the SICS website under ‘mentoring’.

  • NHS Occupational Health
    • Occ Health is a service made up of nurses & doctors who are specialists in dealing with fitness of the individual for work, and of the fitness of your workplace for you. They offer multiple free, confidential services for NHS employees, including:
      • Health surveillance
      • Short-term counselling
      • Medical & physiotherapy referrals
      • Sickness absence advice and assessment
    • You can usually email, call or you can be referred by your employer directly.
    • As this is a service within work, they may advise you and/or your direct line manager that you should not be working, or working differently, if there might be an impact upon your health or the safety of others.

  • Local Mental Health Assessment Services
    • Many local authorities will run local mental health assessment services allied with the emergency department or psychiatric hospital.

  • Social care crisis centres
    • Some cities have community-based services for those who are already using mental health services (including GP) or have done so in the past. It’s an alternative to contacting the hospital, and is sometimes run as part of social care services, partnered with the health board and the council.

Other Online/National Resources

  • Sick Doctors Trust
    • A helpline and service set up by doctors with previous addictions, for doctors with addictions (alcohol and other drugs). It’s aimed at helping to safeguard patients and doctors alike. Call 0370 4445163 (24/7) for anonymous, independent help and advice.

  • BMA doctors & wellbeing page
    • As well as a number of great wellbeing services and links, this page has a link to BMA counselling and advice, which is 24/7 and is available on 0330 1231245.

  • The Doctors Support Network
    • A confidential peer-support network, that doesn’t provide medical advice or formal counselling but does give support from other medics who have been through tough times themselves.

  • Living Life to the Full
    • This site, set up by a psychiatrist in Glasgow, offers free online courses covering low mood and stress and all of the common linked problems this causes. Aiming to work out why you feel as you do, how to tackle problems, build confidence, get going again, feel happier, stay calm and tackle upsetting thinking.

  • MIND
    • Charity that provides advice and support to empower those with, or are looking out for those with, mental health problems. Call 0300 1233393 or visit their website for information.
  • Health in Mind
    • Scottish charity promoting positive mental health & wellbeing, offering services such as counselling, befriending, combatting isolation and self-help.