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New wellness support line offers help to Canadian physicians

By The IJ Staff | June 17 2020 11:23AM

Photo: Freepik

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has launched a new Wellness Support Line. The service, funded by Scotiabank and MD Financial Management, provides 24/7 mental health support and counselling to physicians, residents, medical students and their immediate families.

"Even before COVID-19, medicine was a high-stress profession and physician wellness often suffered. Today, the pressures have multiplied — a shortage of PPE, demanding hours, changing practice protocols, and the constant threat of contracting the virus can all lead to distress," says Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA President. "Our goal is to ensure equity so that all physicians and trainees across Canada can call a help line in their own province if needed."

The Wellness Support Line is a confidential fully bilingual, with ongoing support in multiple languages. The service is offered through Morneau Shepell, and all calls are fielded by counsellors trained to address the specific needs of medical professionals. The service is offered to all physicians, medical learners and their families.

The Wellness Support Line is being offered in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon and Nunavut – through partnerships with the provincial/territorial medical associations in these areas. “Other regions in Canada currently offer highly tailored, established services, which will continue to support their physicians. Our combined efforts will ensure that there is coverage and support for all physicians and their families from coast to coast,” says the CMA.

"Despite the toll that the pandemic is taking on physicians' mental health, they have continued to show an unfaltering commitment to the care of Canadians," says MD CEO and President Daniel Labonté. "MD is proud to be part of the Wellness Support Line that will provide easy access and a safe avenue for physicians and their families to have meaningful mental health conversations."

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