By Tammy Wishard
In a recent advisory calling attention to health care worker burnout, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, highlighted the broad response the situation calls for: “We must ensure that every health worker has access to affordable, confidential, and convenient mental health care.”
If finances are keeping you or someone you know from seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, substance use, or other conditions, the Texas Medical Association’s PBF Wellness Fund is here to help overcome that barrier.
Through the fund, physicians with a valid Texas medical license can receive financial support for treatment of conditions that impair their ability to practice medicine safely. In addition, qualifying physicians can receive financial support to cover their family’s living expenses while undergoing treatment.
In the surgeon general’s report, Addressing Health Worker Burnout, Murthy proposed a variety of approaches to aid the 35% to 54% of physicians and nurses, and 45% to 60% of medical students and residents reporting symptoms of burnout. He called for individuals, health care organizations, academic institutions, government, and more to help address the problem.
Related to mental health, the advisory calls for such actions as:
- Eliminating punitive policies for seeking care for mental health and substance-use disorder;
- Normalizing conversations about mental health challenges, including suicide, in health care learning environments to foster a culture of support and awareness; and
- Ensuring access to mental health services for health care workers and their families, including the use of telemedicine.
Contact TMA if you or someone you know could benefit from the PBF Wellness Fund. Email Chris Johnson, PBF director, or call her at (512) 370-1602. Or complete an application. TMA strives to protect the anonymity of fund recipients.
Contributions from physicians and their spouses support the fund. If you want to help, you can contribute via secure, online donation, or send a check to PBF Wellness Fund, Attn: TMA Finance Department, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701-1680.
The PBF is a 501(c)(3) organization, so charitable contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by federal law.