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60% Of Doctors Are Depressed And Can Get Access To $1,000 FREE Therapy

Unmanageable workloads, non-stop administration, relentless hours and the looming fear of letting patients down. For many healthcare professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand, that’s just the job description. It’s no wonder that the entire sector is facing a mental health crisis.

A new Clearhead and NZMII partnership offers relief to burnt out doctors in an understaffed and ill-equipped healthcare system by giving $1000 of free therapy to every doctor insured with NZMII.

New Zealand Medical Indemnity Insurance (NZMII) is New Zealand’s only specialist provider of indemnity insurance for health professionals and enables medical practitioners to practice with confidence free from the fear of risk.

However, in the past 3 years, we have seen a steady 10% increase in the number of medical indemnity claims each year. The root of these claims is often attributed to individuals working within a public health system that is run off its feet, resulting in doctors who are burnt out, overworked, and taken for granted.

Massey University research from 2023 showed the risk of burnout was almost twice as large for doctors (22.7%) as it was for the rest of the workforce (12.2%.). On top of this, in late 2022, Stuff reported that the prevalence of depression was estimated to be 27% in medical students, 29% in resident doctors, and up to 60% in practising doctors. Unfortunately, despite these statistics, recent market research conducted in NZ shows that only 38% of doctors have actually tried to reach out for help.

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The irony is not lost that while working to improve the physical and mental health of others, doctors and other medical professionals tend to (and are expected to) sacrifice their own wellbeing. We can’t keep expecting the medical profession to pour from an empty cup.

Gene Pateman, CEO of NZMII, hears first-hand the emotional impact of complaints on medical professionals. He stresses that “the public expectation that our doctors continue to go above and beyond is a tough burden to bear and we here at NZMII want to build more protection around our doctors through access to proven and effective wellbeing resources, so they have the confidence and support to practice at their best”.

Clearhead is an innovative employee assistance programme (EAP) that provides access to a network of 500+ mental health professionals and clinically designed AI wellbeing tools to offer personalised mental health support. Through this partnership with NZMII, each and every one of NZMII’s medical practitioners is entitled to $1000 per annum of free therapy and access to Clearhead’s platform.

While revolutionising the fundamental way healthcare is delivered won’t happen overnight, Clearhead and NZMII are stressing the importance of timely access to clinically effective wellbeing solutions for busy health professionals who need extra help to cope in a difficult working environment.

Dr. Angela Lim, CEO of Clearhead, knows what it’s like to work first-hand within a health system that is not doing enough to take care of its own clinicians. She states, “The disproportionate mental health stats amongst health professionals says it all. It is important that we don’t perpetuate a negative spiral by losing our already limited workforce, and instead take actionable steps to make it easy for the people who are supporting the nation to access support for themselves.”

Providing medical professionals their choice of therapy provider that is funded, confidential, matched to their specific needs, and has an in-person appointment wait time of 3 days (rather than 6 months, like it is currently in the public system) can make all the difference between a doctor who is getting helpand one who is not.

To celebrate this partnership, NZMII has sponsored the New Zealand Women in Medicine (NZWIM) conference on 16 May 2024, where both NZMII and Clearhead will be present and Dr. Angela Lim will be presenting on the importance of mental health support that is proactive, not just reactive, and the value of preventative tools to improve the wellbeing of the medical workforce.

About Clearhead:

Clearhead is an innovate EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) redefining the future of workplace wellbeing. Through our platform, we offer 24/7 access to therapy booking with a network of 500+ mental health professionals, a library of self-help mental health tools, an AI therapist, and comprehensive organisational psychosocial risk reporting.

Clearhead perfectly matches an individual to the right therapist to ensure therapeutic alliance rather than leaving a positive clinical outcome to chance. Our mission is to make personalised mental health services accessible in a timely manner to everyone.

Ensure you are managing your organisation’s psychosocial risks well with Clearhead. Learn more here:

About NZMII:

New Zealand Medical Indemnity Insurance (NZMII) is New Zealand’s only specialist provider of indemnity insurance for health professionals.

With 25 years under our belt working alongside health professionals across the country, we understand the demands of healthcare in Aotearoa New Zealand. We see it. We get it. That’s why we’re on a mission. One that goes beyond offering world-class indemnity insurance. We’re stepping up to actively protect our heath professionals’ wellbeing – so when they’re looking after patients, we’re looking out for them.

We’re here to be more than just an insurer. We’re their partner. By combining stability and expertise with trusted tools designed to put wellbeing first, health professionals get care as well as protection. And we make getting sorted quick and easy with a local team who understand their needs and are always ready to chat.

With NZMII, we believe that having our health professionals’ back means that they have the confidence to practice at their best.

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