Burnout in the medical profession: not a rite of passage

Michael Baigent and Ruth Baigent
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00891
Published online: 18 June 2018

Establishing mentally healthy workplaces will reduce the risk of burnout

It is an attention-demanding tragedy when doctors’ deaths are attributed to their work, which, after all, is in the service of others. “Epidemic”, “crisis” and “urgent need” are words accompanying discussions of burnout and doctor suicides. Yet, despite this bombardment, there has been no sustained approach to achieve an effective national response. Recently, responding to calls for action, the Victorian government launched a workplace mental health strategy and the New South Wales government held a junior doctor wellbeing forum. Some colleges and medical organisations have websites, forums, action plans, conferences and seminars on doctors’ mental health. Doctors develop mental illness for the same reasons as any other person. Yet burnout, which is a risk factor,1 is highly prevalent in doctors. Why not address the burnout? Who should address it?

  • Michael Baigent1
  • Ruth Baigent2

  • 1 Flinders University, Adelaide, SA
  • 2 Norwood General and Family Practice, Adelaide, SA

Competing interests:

Michael Baigent serves on the Board of Directors for beyondblue, the national depression initiative, a not-for-profit organisation.


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