Sources of support for your wellbeing

Whether you are struggling with stress, grief, or looking for legal advice, use this resource to find support online, on the phone, and in your local area.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Tuesday 21 September 2021
Lotus plant article illustration

There are lots of organisations, services, websites, and helplines that offer support to doctors and medical students in need.

 

UK directory of services

Our UK directory of support services is specifically for doctors and medical students. Find a service local to you.

Addiction

Alcohol support - NHS

NHS web page linking to alcohol support services (non-medic specific).

British Doctors and Dentists Group

A service for recovering alcoholic and drug-dependent doctors, dentists, and students.

Drugs support - NHS

NHS web page linking to drug support services (non-medic specific).

Gambling support - NHS

NHS web page linking to gambling support services (non-medic specific).

Sick Doctors Trust

Support and help for doctors, dentists, and medical students who are concerned about their use of alcohol and other drugs.

 

Bereavement

Dealing with grief and loss - NHS

A useful NHS guide to coping with grief and loss (non-medic specific).

For doctors: managing your wellbeing

A film by Child Bereavement UK aims to support doctors' wellbeing whilst working in the face of loss, grief, and bereavement. Film funded by BMA Giving

The Louise Tebboth Foundation

Supporting the mental wellbeing of medical practitioners and doctors’ families bereaved by suicide.

 

Counselling and support

The Balint Society

Balint groups help health and social care professionals gain a better understanding of the emotional content of their relationship with patients or clients. 

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Search for counsellors and psychotherapists in your area (non-medic specific).

BMA Wellbeing support services

Confidential, 24/7 telephone counselling and peer support. Free of charge to all doctors and medical students.

DocHealth

A confidential, not-for-profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for all doctors. Fees are based on your grade and circumstances.

Doctors' Support Group

A support group for any medical professional or dentist facing suspension, exclusion, investigation of complaints, or allegations of professional misconduct.

Doctors' Support Network (DSN)

A fully confidential, friendly, self-help group for doctors with mental health concerns.

Duty to Care

Wellbeing support via online consultation for NHS workers to go to for instant help and support when they need it most.

Health for Health Professionals - Wales

A free, confidential service is now available to all Health Professionals and Healthcare Students working in NHS Wales.

NHS Practitioner Health - England

A free, confidential service for doctors and dentists in England who have mental or physical health concerns and or addiction problems, in particular where this may be affecting work.

NHS psychological therapies (IAPT services)

Free psychological therapies, including counselling, on the NHS. Search for services in your area and refer yourself directly (non-medic specific).

Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Available 24 hours a day call 0808 2000 247 for free and confidential advice. Visit the website to access further information, a contact form, and the live chat service (non-medic specific).

Samaritans

Available 24 hours a day call 116 123 for confidential emotional support if you are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide (non-medic specific).

Staff mental health and wellbeing hubs

The staff mental health and wellbeing hubs have been set up to provide health and social care colleagues rapid access to assessment and local evidence-based mental health services and support where needed.

Workforce Specialist Service (WSS) - Scotland

The WSS, delivered by NHS Practitioner Health, is a confidential multidisciplinary mental health service for doctors and other regulated health and social services professionals in Scotland.

 

COVID-19 support

Below are some of the sources of support for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frontline 19

Free and confidential psychological support service for all people working in frontline services in the UK.

HSC staff health and wellbeing (Northern Ireland)

Psychological helplines and other resources to help support the wellbeing of health and social care workers in Northern Ireland.

Heather Wellbeing

Free therapy for NHS frontline staff fighting COVID-19. Therapy is provided online and over the phone through Heather’s network of professional psychotherapists that are volunteering for this initiative.

Medics footprints

Provides a broad and comprehensive round-up of resources, including links to specific Facebook support groups.

National Health Supporters

A network of healthcare students around the country, who aim to assist with the needs of NHS staff to alleviate pressures on them including, but not exclusive to, childcare, grocery shopping, and pet sitting during these difficult times.

NHS Staff support line

A free and confidential staff support line operated by the Samaritans. This support line is here for when you’ve had a tough day, are feeling worried or overwhelmed, or maybe you have a lot on your mind and need to talk it through. Support is also available by text.

NHS Silvercloud

An online course to help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. You work through a series of topics selected by a therapist to address specific needs. The eight-week course is designed to be completed in your own time and at your own pace.

Project 5

NHS staff can access free one-to-one support sessions with either accredited clinical psychologists, mental health experts or coaches, via an online booking system.

Project Wingman

A group of airline crew providing support to NHS staff during the COVID-19 crisis.

Support for NHS leaders

A suite of support offers to help you lead your team compassionately and inclusively throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Includes coaching and mentoring, and leadership support circles.

UK doctors #longcovid

A Facebook group for UK doctors to share emerging data about long-term COVID symptoms and space for support for doctors experiencing symptoms.

Welldoing.org

Free therapy sessions to NHS staff. All therapists have been verified and are members of their appropriate professional bodies.

 

Disabilities

Acas guide on disability discrimination

Advice for employers and employees on disability discrimination at work.

Disability information and support services – NHS

Find disability information and support services near you (non-medic specific).

Disabled Doctors Network

Supports the welfare, rights and inclusion of chronically ill and physically disabled doctors and medical students.

Hope 4 Disabled Doctors

A support group for doctors with disabilities.

 

Equal opportunities

GLADD

Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists. Offers help/support/advice or simply the opportunity to make social contact with other lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender doctors and dentists. 

Melanin Medics

Promoting diversity in medicine, widening aspirations and aiding career progression. Supporting African and Caribbean aspiring medics, medical students and doctors in the UK.

Medical Womens Federation

The voice of UK medical women on medical issues. Improving the working lives of women doctors.

 

Finances

BMA Charities

A group of charities established to help all doctors and their families in times of need.  

The Cameron Fund 

A charity for doctors who are, or have been, general practitioners, and for their dependants. It offers help in times of poverty, hardship or distress. The Fund aims to meet the needs of its beneficiaries in the fullest and most practical ways possible.

Medics Money

Find a specialist Medical Accountant, Financial Adviser or Mortgage adviser specialising in doctors and medical professionals.

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF)

UK charity for doctors, medical students and their families. Provide financial support, money advice and information when needed due to age, ill health, disability and bereavement. 

Royal Medical Foundation 

A medical benevolent charity which assists UK medical practitioners and their dependants who find themselves in financial hardship.

Society for Assistance of Medical Families

Membership society assisting doctors and the families of doctors in times of hardship.

 

Legal issues

Advocate

A charity that helps to find free legal assistance from volunteer barristers (non-medic specific).

BMA Law

Independent, proactive legal advice for members and non-members on wide-ranging issues from GMC investigation support to personal injury. Preferential rates offered to BMA members.

Medical Defence Union (for MDU members only)

Expert help and advice on medico-legal and ethical matters including handling complaints, claims, and GMC cases.

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (for MDDUS members only)

Access to expert medico-legal advice and professional indemnity including support with patient complaints and disciplinary matters.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Information and support for doctors who have a hearing as part of a GMC investigation.

Medical Protection Society (for MPS members only)

Comprehensive professional indemnity and expert advice.

 

Online tools

Arbour

An app to support doctors and medical students in their decision-making about whether to speak to someone about their mental health.

BMJ Learning

Professional skills and career development modules that give insightful and practical guidance. 

Guides and resources for doctors who receive a complaint

NHS Practitioner Health have put together some useful guides and resources on what to do and expect if a doctor receives a complaint and/or is notified that they are under investigation.

Mentoring guidance for doctors

Overview of the benefits of mentoring, how to find a mentor, and the skills required to be a mentor.

MIND toolkit

This toolkit, produced by MIND and funded by the BMA, provides practical advice and tips to help NHS leaders, and line managers, reduce mental health stigma, create mentally healthy cultures and support better mental health.

NHS People guides

Short 10-20 minute guides to improve your wellbeing and experience of work.

RMBF - Health and Wellbeing

Advice from the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund on a variety of subjects regarding your health and wellbeing.

Second victim support

Information, guidance, and signposting to help with the impact of patient safety incidents.

Support for Doctors

Information and advice from the GMC for doctors who have concerns about their own health.

You Okay, Doc?

Advice, guidance, and discussion on mental health and wellness topics for doctors. You Okay, Doc? offer information, practical tips, and community discussion through their podcast, social media guidance, and blog. YOD also runs a webinar series that explores and provides guidance on various mental health challenges facing doctors.

 

Professional support units

There are local services provided by your postgraduate education provider that can support you with your health and wellbeing during your training.

Find these in our UK wellbeing support directory.

 

Royal colleges

Association of Anaesthetists - Wellbeing and support

Information and guidance on your wellbeing.

Confidential Support and Advice for Surgeons 

Telephone helpline from the Royal College of Surgeons providing confidential support from a counsellor or peer-to-peer support from a surgical colleague.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Informal peer-to-peer support for members seeking guidance on workplace issues, interpersonal difficulties, return to work options, or non-clinical concerns.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists mental health page

User-friendly and evidence-based information on mental health problems, treatments, and other topics.

Psychiatrists' Support Service, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Confidential peer support provided by telephone to psychiatrists of all grades who may be experiencing personal or work-related difficulties.

 

Speaking up

Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

Freedom to Speak Up Guardians support workers to speak up when they feel that they are unable to do so by other routes. Find contact details for your FTSU Guardian in the National Guardian’s directory.

Protect

A UK charity providing a free and confidential whistleblowing advice line.

Speak Up

A free, independent and confidential helpline for people working in NHS and Social Care organisations in England.

 

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