General practitioners help seeking intentions for mental health problems
The objectives of this study were to determine general practitioners' (GPs) intentions to seek help for drug and alcohol problems and persistent suicidal thoughts, as well as their preferred sources of help. A postal survey of all GPs in the Illawarra region of New South Wales was conducted. One hundred and thirty-six GPs completed the questionnaire. Participants indicated they were most likely to seek help for drug and alcohol problems from a GP, the NSW Doctors' Health Advisory Service, family, or friends. GPs with persistent suicidal thoughts were most likely to seek help from a psychiatrist, GP, or family. GPs reported greater intentions to seek help from psychiatrists, psychologists, phone help-lines and family for persistent suicidal thoughts compared to drug and alcohol problems. However, as depression increased, intentions to seek help from GPs and family decreased. Family and other GPs were preferred sources of help for both types of problem described in this study. GP spouses often experience high levels of burden for caring for children, their GP spouse, and at times the practice itself. The importance of GPs' spouses suggests they should be included in any programs aimed at strengthening the helping support systems for GPs. It may also be useful to educate GPs generally about how to work with colleagues who are seeking help, and the sorts of barriers they may experience in doing so.