May 17, 2024

IM Thriving Masthead

ACP Well-being Champions: Promoting Mental Health Awareness Through Courage and Connection

"Mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become."

—Viktor Frankl, MD/PhD, Man's Search for Meaning

Burnout. Resilience. Self-Care. Mental Health. These are words we have heard over and over, especially over the past few years ... almost to the point where they start to lose their meaning; yet the concepts that they represent are still worth working toward. They can mean many different things but ultimately, at their core, they all embody a sense of tension between where one is and where one wants to be. Historically, being worn out and overworked has been seen as a "badge of honor" or an inevitable occupational hazard for physicians, yet we know all too well that mindset, along with the ever-growing demands of the job and the health care system itself, are no longer sustainable.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As stated in this I.M. Matters article, physicians have long had a basic understanding that caring for mental health is as essential to and as important as caring for physical health. Some of the foundational tools needed to work toward wellness and mental health for physicians, both individually and for the field at large, are courage, coaching, and connection. Institutional Courage, a concept that highlights commitment to seek the truth and engage in moral action, despite unpleasantness, risk, and short-term cost, offers a roadmap for how to enact change; ACP's new Physician Peer Coaching Program provides a trusted source for ongoing support for changemakers. This recent Annals Graphic Medicine feature, Being There, gives an example of courage and connection in action.

It's no secret that taking care of your health, whether mental or physical, takes a lot of hard work, time, and energy. While physicians are no stranger to hard work, it's the time and energy that can be elusive. So, for this month's I.M. Thriving, we've provided you with some quick pointers.

Check out the links below for resources you can use for yourself and others:

  • Explore the Professional Fulfillment Zone, where you will find the latest updates from ACP's Professional Development and Fulfillment team, including a recap of ACP Internal Medicine Meeting 2024.
  • Send Nominations for the ACP Award for Outstanding Contributions to Improving Well-being and Professional Fulfillment in Internal Medicine. Learn more about the award.
  • Read about the Biden Administration's Federal Action Plan for Suicide Prevention, NAM's Clinician Well-Being Collaborative, How VR Could Help Burnout, and ACP's Policy Brief on Alcohol Use Disorders; also, download toolkits to promote Mental Health Month.
  • Learn the value of Being There for each other, how our Minds Help (or Hinder) Finding our Purpose, new ways to bust stress, and the importance of taking meaningful actions to support clinicians' mental health.
  • Review Patients Before Paperwork and advocacy updates that affect physician well-being and professional fulfillment.
  • Explore Well-being Champion (WBC) coaching resources, including coaching signups, the WBC contact list, a library of well-being interventions, and the WBC journey map. Find out how chapters can partner with WBCs (WBC Exclusive; must be signed in to ACP online).
  • Utilize just-in-time well-being skills to use for yourself and to teach others and explore tools to create a well-being program tailored to any organization's needs and budget.
  • Visit the I.M. Emotional Support Hub and Video Series to learn more about individual and organizational strategies and resources to protect clinicians' emotional health and well-being.

We look forward to hearing from you! Post in the ACP Connect app WBC community and/or reach out to us via e-mail any time. Please e-mail with your thoughts and suggestions for newsletter topics and features.


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