Mental health is an important component of overall health. However, many people hide their mental health impairments for fear of the stigma associated with these conditions. This is especially true in the medical profession. Doctors often ignore their own suffering in order to maintain their medical careers and continue providing care for patients. This ultimately does more harm than good, as physicians suffer through depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, physician burnout, and a variety of other mental health conditions that inhibit physicians’ ability to provide adequate patient care and meet the duties of their profession.
As mentioned, a primary concern that prevents doctors from seeking the necessary care for their mental health conditions is being able to maintain their medical practice. Doctors frequently fear that revealing their condition will affect their work environment and relationships with colleagues due to the existing stigma surrounding mental health conditions. However, there is another reason that doctors often hide their condition; medical licensing boards historically ask for applicants to disclose their prior diagnoses and treatments involving mental health conditions that may affect their ability to work. While the intention may be to protect patients and the medical field as a whole, the result is that doctors and other medical professionals suffer in silence due to the fear of inhibiting future employment opportunities in the medical profession by revealing their condition.
With changes to the medical credentialing process and advocacy for mental health, awareness of these conditions and access to treatment should improve. With the proposed reporting changes, there should be less chance for a physician to fear their past diagnoses being held against them when being considered for a licensing or employment opportunity. Doctors should feel confident in seeking medical treatment for their conditions. Likewise, recognition of these conditions as a disability when the conditions are severe enough to prevent a doctor from practicing medicine should also increase.
Disability Insurance Benefits Provide Security for Doctors Suffering from Mental Health Conditions
While an improvement in awareness and acceptance of mental health conditions will help medical professionals in their pursuit of treatment for their own health, doctors still face uncertainty when a disabling condition prevents them from practicing medicine. Disability insurance benefits are available to insureds to provide replacement income when they become disabled and unable to work. This can provide a sense of security as some of the financial uncertainty is removed through the receipt of disability insurance benefits. Though some disabling conditions, such as physician burnout and other mental health impairments, are still viewed critically, an experienced disability insurance attorney can help you secure the benefits you deserve.
Seltzer & Associates handles our clients’ disability insurance claims with compassion and dignity. We have decades of experience representing clients nationwide as they pursue their disability insurance benefits. We advocate for our clients through the many stages of the disability insurance claims process, including appealing denials and terminations of disability insurance benefits. We are also well-versed in the challenges specific to mental health conditions such as policy exclusions, time limitations, and definitions that are used to limit or deny disability insurance awards. You can rest assured that with Seltzer & Associates on your side, you will be treated with the respect and support you need when you are disabled.
Updates in Medical License Applications May Promote Mental Health Care
Doctors and surgeons have to undergo a thorough application process to obtain their license to practice medicine. These applications vigorously examine an applicant’s personal history. This includes medical history involving mental health diagnoses and treatment. Due to the stigma of mental health conditions and the fear of not obtaining a medical license or losing a medical license, doctors have routinely ignored their own mental health so that they do not have to report their status to medical boards or their employers. This is simply not right. Doctors should be able to seek medical care for their own medical conditions without fear.
One of the proposed changes to medical board applications discourages the reporting of past mental health conditions and diagnoses if it does not affect the applicant’s current ability to uphold the professional standards of the medical profession. Rather, boards are encouraged to focus on whether, at present, the applicant’s current physical or mental health conditions would impair them from practicing medicine. When applicants are not penalized for past medical conditions in their medical license applications, they can seek the necessary treatment for disabling conditions, including disabling mental health impairments. When acceptance of these conditions improves early on in a medical career, colleagues can support one another and lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. This will serve the medical community well as both physicians and patients are able to experience a medical environment where doctors receive the healthcare they need in order to serve and care for their own patients.
Doctors Need To Embrace Appropriate Care for Disabling Mental Health Conditions
It can be overwhelming to face a disabling condition, especially if it prevents you from working in your career field and disrupts other activities and functions of life. This can be especially daunting if you are facing cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or other mental impairments as a result of your disabling condition. With the change in attitudes regarding mental healthcare and acceptance of these disabling conditions, doctors need to seek treatment for their own conditions. Not only will this help doctors improve their health so that they can address the most debilitating of their symptoms, but appropriate care is a required standard in many long-term disability insurance policies that must be met in order for the insured to obtain and maintain disability insurance benefits. An experienced long-term disability lawyer can guide you through the requirements of your disability insurance policy, helping you handle your claim and ensure all appropriate proof is submitted to maintain your disability insurance benefits.
Schedule Your Free Consultation to Discuss Your Disability Insurance Benefits
If you are unable to practice medicine due to a disabling mental health condition, you need to make a claim for the disability insurance benefits you deserve. Contact Seltzer & Associates by completing our online form or calling 888-699-4222 for your free consultation to discuss your disability insurance benefits.