Situations like the current COVID crisis illustrate the need for more resources to help Tennessee's medical workforce cope with the intensity of the times. A new free online mental health resource is now available to address increased incidence of suicide, depression, burnout, and other mental health problems among Tennessee's licensed health professionals.
The Tennessee Professional Screening Questionnaire, or TN PSQ, launched in February and is available to health professions served by the Tennessee Medical Foundation's Physician's Health Program (TMF-PHP). Those include physicians (MDs and DOs), residents, interns, and students, as well as physician assistants, optometrists, podiatrists, chiropractors, x-ray technicians, clinical perfusionists, and veterinarians, both licensed and in training. The tool is accessible at tn.providerwellness.org and e-tmf.org/tnpsq.
Physicians and other health professionals are on the front lines of this crisis and are stressed out, and that may not reach a peak for several months according to TMF Medical Director Michael Baron, MD.
This new statewide resource utilizes the Interactive Screening Program (ISP), an online tool created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Initiated by the TMF with support from the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee Hospital Association, and State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, the TN PSQ is intended to help connect struggling health professionals with available mental health resources in their area.
There are known barriers to getting help for mental health problems among doctors and other licensed health professionals. Confidentiality and existing stigma over seeking help, fears of career implications, and the perceived time and cost involved are all factors that can stop them from reaching out when they probably need it the most added new TMF Administrator Jennifer Rainwater. .
The TN PSQ will be used strictly as a NON-crisis service, offering an anonymous, confidential online mental health screening that will result in referrals to appropriate mental health resources and optional interaction with a program mental health professional.
This tool will be totally anonymous, voluntary, and the outcome completely driven by the user.
The tool went live on February 3 and is being shared in a phased rollout by the TMF, state health professional licensing boards, TMA, THA, SVMIC, health professional organizations, regional and specialty societies, medical schools, and other partnering entities.
For more information, contact the TMF at 615-467-6411 or online at e-tmf.org.