Among the psychiatrists that have presented to Practitioner Health for treatment, 46% have been men and 54% women. 75% of these doctors have been working. As with a number of the other specialties, the vast majority of patients present to Practitioner Health with mental health problems (89%) as opposed to addiction (8%) and 2% were due to physical health problems or other issues.
Mental health presentations to PHS are categorised into common and complex. Psychiatrists have the highest percentage of any specialty presenting with complex mental health problems compared to the average (24% vs 13%).
As with GPs, psychiatrists often find it difficult to obtain confidential help with mainstream health services due to knowing people in the field (through their work). It can be difficult to avoid being referred to a colleague if people live and work in the same geographical area which means that the patient is less likely to want to attend for care or disclose personal information which is key to their treatment. This is where the Practitioner Health Service becomes really beneficial for patients.
Psychiatrists are a high-risk group, as evidenced by the high numbers with complex mental health problems. As a group, doctors in this specialty suffer from high levels of stress and also some of the highest levels of job dissatisfaction and depression. Higher levels of depression among these doctors are mirrored by high levels of suicide. Reasons to explain this could include the fact that those who go into the field of mental health work are more likely to have suffered with mental health problems themselves. Some people may pursue this line of work in order to try to understand their own experiences - close contact with distress places significant emotional toll on psychiatrists and can make difficult feelings resurface.