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Resident Wellness: Barriers to Seeking Mental Health Services Among OB GYN Residents

Purpose: Residency predisposes residents to the development of burnout and mental health complications. The culture of residency inevitably places barriers to wellness through expectations of perfectionism, increasing stress levels, and long hours. This study aims to highlight the main reasons why OB GYN residents may not seek help for depression in residency.


Background: Residency is a period of extreme stress, lack of sleep and long work hours. Factors such as embarrassment and confidentiality play key roles into why physicians don’t seek help. Some additional barriers cited in the literature include lack of time, fear of documentation on academic record, cost and lack of confidentiality. 


Methods: This was a qualitative study to assess the barriers that may keep OB GYN residents from seeking access to mental health resources.  The surveys were electronically distributed via Survey Monkey to OB GYN resident programs

There were a total of 18 questions that assessed demographics and the main barriers that may keep OB GYN residency from seeking mental health services.•A 5 point Likert scale was used to assess the following; ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree •I can manage my problems on my own •I don’t have enough time •I am worried my privacy would be violated •I don’t know if my program offers mental health services •I don’t have money or health insurance to seek help •I don’t think treatment would be of any help •I am worried about the stigma of mental health 


Results: There were 275 respondents to the 18 question survey. Lack of time was the most highly reported barrier, followed by a lack of protected time for appointments. Not knowing if their programs offered services or how to access those services and not thinking treatment would not be of help were the least popular responses.

Discussions: In summary, our data outlines that lack of time and protected time in OB-GYN residencies are prevalent barriers to seeking help among OB GYN residents that must be addressed. Understanding the barriers to seeking help will help us to enact programs that will maintain the wellness of our residents.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2019, Student, Resident, Faculty, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, GME,

General Information

Student,Resident,Faculty,Residency Director,Residency Coordinator,
Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Nicole Sparks, MD, Memorial Health University Medical Center; David Byck, MD; Aliya Nurani, MS2; Eric Shaw, PhD; Eric Clayton, MS

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