ACEM provides support and connects you with external services that can help you with:
- Alcohol misuse
- Bullying, discrimination and harassment
- Clinical incident stress
- Concerns for a colleague
- Financial issues
- Infectious disease and biohazard exposure concerns
- Mental health issues
- Personal or family issues
Need help right now?
Australia: 13 11 14
New Zealand: 0800 543 354
beyondblue - 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467
Samaritans - 0800 726666
By doctors, for doctors
There are 24-hour helplines such as the Doctors Health Advisory Service, staffed by doctors, for doctors and medical students, available in all regions of Australia and New Zealand.
Wellbeing Discussion Forum
The Wellbeing Discussion Forum is a space for members and trainees to discuss topics relating to the wellbeing of people working in Emergency Medicine. It has been set up to facilitate the sharing of information, ideas, stories and initiatives.
Best of Web EM
Best of Web EM is an ACEM resource hub, linking you with peer-reviewed resources including those relating to doctor health and wellbeing .
ACEM Mentoring Network
The ACEM Mentoring Network is an online space to engage in focused discussions and receive support and encouragement from other FACEM mentors.
The ACEM Mentoring Network provides:
- Online discussion forums where you can discuss and share ideas, issues, challenges and successes
- The contact information of FACEMs who have volunteered to offer support and advice
- ACEM Mentoring Course; five online modules supporting the ACEM Mentoring framework
- Tools and templates designed by FACEMs to support the mentoring process.
How can I join the network?
All trainees and Members are automatically enrolled in the ACEM Mentoring Network. Please contact [email protected] if you are not receiving email alerts.
The following resources can help you to identify whether you are developing an alcohol use disorder:
It is important to seek help if you are developing an alcohol use disorder. This may be from your own trusted general practitioner, an addiction medicine specialist or a doctor-friendly Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group in Australia or New Zealand. Alternately most university psychology departments administer interactive web-based counselling programs that can be accessed anonymously.
Lifetime prevalence studies indicate that one in 10 people will develop alcohol strife. There is no need to feel shame if it is affecting you. Lifestyle changes such as replacing alcohol consumption with alternate habits such as exercise, hobbies and satisfying social interactions have been shown to assist. Fortunately, the prognosis for doctors who develop alcohol use disorder is favourable, especially where the problem is both recognised and managed early.
Bullying, discrimination or harassment
If you have encountered discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment in your workplace, we encourage you to seek confidential support from either your workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or your local Doctors’ Health Advisory Service.
If your experience is related to any College-associated activity, you can contact Converge International, which has been engaged by ACEM to provide additional support to our members and trainees. The service is completely confidential:
Australia: 1300 687 327
New Zealand: +61 3 8620 5300
Converge International also offers online resources that provide you with information to deal with on work-related and personal issues. The portal contains information on the latest news and events from Converge International, newsletter inserts on various topics, research papers and tip sheets.
If you would like to make a formal complaint to ACEM about the conduct of any College Member or trainee or to enquire about the College’s complaints process, you can email [email protected]
See also the Complaints Policy and the Procedures for Resolving Discrimination, Bullying and Sexual Harassment Complaints.
Mind Tools is a website that helps you learn the management, leadership and personal excellence skills needed for a happy, successful career. It provides a collection of strategies for reducing and managing stress.
Clinical incident stress
In emergency medicine, there are times when practitioners are involved in situations that are stressful. It is not unusual to find yourself affected by an adverse incident or a particularly confronting case. Therefore it is important to have some coping strategies.
There are times when you can feel hopelessly inadequate, and others around appear self-confident and assured. These outward appearances can be quite different from how other people feel. Anyone working in this challenging environment feels like this some of the time, particularly after a critical incident.
Talk to others about how you are feeling after any stressful event. They can often share details of their experiences to help you maintain perspective. This might be with a colleague whom you respect, admire and can talk to.
Some departments and organisations have a formal structure in place for debriefs, sometimes with professional facilitators. If one is offered where you work and you think it would be beneficial, ensure you know when they are occurring and can have the time from other duties to attend.
Concerns for a colleague
If you believe a doctor is unwell and may be unable to practice safely, you are required by law to notify the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). Your employer will have specific reporting rules.
Your concerns should be escalated to a line manager, the Director of Emergency Medicine Training (DEMT), Director of Emergency Medicine (DEM) or the Director of Clinical Training. Providing that you do this in good faith, there are legal protections from civil and administrative liability.
In New Zealand
If you believe a doctor is unwell and may be unable to practice safely, you are required by law to notify the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). If you have a reasonable belief that a doctor may be unable to perform the functions required for the practice of medicine, the obligation to notify takes effect.
If you have not notified MCNZ, this could be seen to be a breach of professional obligation and give rise to disciplinary proceedings. Supporting the obligation to notify, the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 protects whistleblowers.
The Australian Medical Association offers doctors a web-based tool that enables you to evaluate the safety of your roster, track your work, on-call, recreational and sleeping hours over a week, and determine whether your work arrangements are placing you at risk of serious fatigue.
Infectious disease and biohazard exposure concerns
Mental health issues
The following resources provide support and services for those experiencing mental health issues:
- Beyond Blue Doctors Mental Health Program aims to address the prevalence of anxiety, depression and suicide in staff working in health services across Australia."
- The Beyond Blue Mental Health Checklist measures whether you may have been affected by depression and anxiety during the past four weeks
- The Black Dog Institute provides information and resources including online self-testing information on current treatments
- For New Zealand-based support and service, the Mental Health Foundation's Get Help website has a full range of associated resources.
Learning more about mental health issues
The following online resources can help you learn more about mental health issues:
- The Centre for Clinical Interventions provides access to self-guided online modules about depression, perfectionism, panic attacks, assertiveness and much more
- The Australian National University developed the eCouch platform contains online exercises and strategies
- The University of Auckland's CALM website contains podcasts on resilience, managing stress, anxiety and depression, healthy relationships, and finding meaning in life.
Mindfulness and meditation resources
There are many freely available mindfulness and meditation resources. Not-for-profit organisations, Headspace and Smiling Mind, both have apps for Apple and Android. The Auckland-based CALM websitehas online meditation modules.
The Resilience Project teaches positive mental health strategies and has developed a daily well-being journal app.
Personal or family issues
Relationships Australia provides a range of services including what to do when your relationship breaks down and resolving a conflict.
The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides helpful information about grief, supporting grieving children, adolescents and adults.
ACEM offers a program of remedial management for a member who is identified as performing poorly in their role as an emergency medicine practitioner.
ACEM sets out the requirements for progression and remediation in the FACEM Training Program under the Progression and Remediation Policy. We have a dedicated Trainee Support Team to discuss your training and assessment requirements. Find more information on remediation here.