If you’re a doctor experiencing burnout, depression or suicidal feelings, nothing beats seeking professional help. But some online tools may help to reduce the odds of these outcomes, say the authors of a new systematic review.
The review authors, from the University of California, say only a minority of health professionals seek treatment for burnout, often due to concerns over confidentiality, stigma, career implications and time constraints. Apps and web tools, although no replacement for professional help, may nonetheless circumvent some of these barriers.
The authors searched PubMed for studies evaluating stress, burnout, depression and suicidality prevention and identified seven online tools and apps that they say could serve as a starting point to improve coping with stressors in the workplace. They add that the next steps involve adapting digital health strategies to specifically fit the needs of doctors and other healthcare providers.
Here are their top seven digital resources:
- Breathe2Relax: An app which provides breathing exercises to help users learn a stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. This has been shown to decrease the body’s stress response, and help with mood stabilisation, anger control, and anxiety management.
- Headspace: This app guides users through meditation sessions. Meditation has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms.
- Guided audio files from the University of California San Diego: Online resources with guided meditation audios that including mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- MoodGYM: An online cognitive behavioral therapy program shown to reduce suicidal ideation in interns.
- Stress Gym: Another online program with step-by-step stress management guides.
- Virtual Hope Box: an app that helps users with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking.
- Stay Alive: This app provides customized safety plans, breathing and grounding exercise tutorials. It also features an online forum.
You can access the systematic review here.
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