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Wellness

IU School of Medicine is committed to the comprehensive wellness of all individuals
in the school community and as it relates to the learning and working environment. Creating a culture of respect and accountability for physician well-being is crucial to physicians’ ability to deliver the safest, best possible care to patients.
Psychological, emotional, and physical well-being are critical in the development of the competent, caring, and resilient physician and require proactive attention to life inside and outside of medicine.

Self-care and responsibility to support other members of the health care team are important components of professionalism; they are also skills that must be modeled, learned, and nurtured in the context of other aspects of training.

The goal is for physicians to retain the joy in medicine while simultaneously integrating their individual lives separate from their educational training.

For learners at all levels, the school offers an integrated four-year wellness and personal development experience with curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

This comprehensive wellness program trains medical students to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors to maintain their own wellness throughout the lifetime of their career.

The IU School of Medicine Department of Mental Health Services (DMHS) offers individual psychotherapy, couples counseling, group counseling and psychiatric services.

The DMHS Crisis Line, 317-278-4357 (HELP), is available 24/7.

Calls are answered by a licensed mental health clinician who can provide assistance and contact the on-call IU School of Medicine DMHS clinician for urgent situations. Anyone can call the crisis line on behalf of a trainee, and calls can be made anonymously.

These services are available on all IU School of Medicine campuses. Each regional campus also has local mental health resources available for trainees. For additional information or to be connected to the local resource in your area, please reach out to DMHS.

 

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Access Emergency Help

In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. For emergency counseling support, trainees can call the 24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Line: 317-278-HELP (4357).

Additional resources:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8225
  • National Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741-741
  • IU School of Medicine Chaplaincy Services: 317-962-8611 (office) or 317-914-3629 (cell)

More resources

Department of Mental Health Services

All trainees can now login using their university SSO (no sign-up required) at the secure Department of Mental Health Services learner portal. If you have any difficulty accessing the portal, please reach out to our front desk at 317-278-2382.

Resources

IU School of Medicine’s commitment to wellness within the school community includes physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, financial and relational well-being. Through innovative, coordinated and aligned initiatives to address wellness needs, the school’s values of respect, integrity, diversity and excellence are lived out every day. Below are links to pertinent resources on topics related to mental health. Take a few minutes to support your mental well-being by doing these self-reflection exercises and these self-care assessments

Self-Reflection Exercises

Self-Care Assessments

  • Depression
    Students and professionals in health science fields face a risk of anxiety or depression at some point in their careers. Studies show that suicide rates among physicians is higher than the general population.

    However, in one study where 42.5% of students and residents screened positive for depression, only 22.7% of those sought treatment.

    Seek support if you are experiencing these common warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress.

    The IU School of Medicine Department of Mental Health Services provides mental health and personal counseling services to all IU School of Medicine students, residents and fellows on every IU School of Medicine Campus.

    Personal counseling is available to all medical and graduate students, residents and fellows free of charge.

    Concerned about a colleague? Seize the Awkward offers tips for how to approach a friend with concerns about their mental health.

  • Fatigue
    In an effort to fight fatigue, the ACGME mandates that resident duty hours be limited to 80 hours per week, averaged over a four-week period. Duty periods of interns cannot exceed 16 hours; and higher-level residents can be scheduled for no more than 24 hours of continuous duty, with up to four additional hours for transitions in care.

    The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will honor these guidelines as well as those outlined in school policies.

    Doing so ensures learners are properly rested to keep themselves and others safe while delivering high-quality patient care.
  • Substance Abuse
    Studies suggest physicians use drugs, particularly prescription drugs, at a higher rate than the general population. The department is dedicated to teaching faculty members, fellows and residents to recognize the abuse in themselves and others, and how to seek appropriate help.
  • Burnout

    Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, reduced personal accomplishment and low job satisfaction. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed half of all orthopaedic surgeons show symptoms of burnout, with the highest rates reported among residents.

    Health care provider burnout is known to have a relationship with both quality of care and patient safety.

    The department adheres to work hour and vacation policies meant to keep residents and fellows well-rested and energized.

    Additionally, each program takes steps to further support learners at different stages of their education. For example, each resident is assigned a faculty member who serves a mentor throughout the course of their training.

    Residents are required to meet with their faculty mentor at least twice per year. The Orthopaedic Trauma Fellowship is dedicated to the idea of redundancy in the manner in which it schedules fellows.

Mental Health Services for Residents and Fellows

Residents and fellows at IU School of Medicine have a range of options for mental health services and behavioral health care. IU School of Medicine provides free and confidential counseling services to resident and fellow physicians. These include individual, couples and family, and group counseling; consultation; programming; and emergency intervention.

Among concerns are adjustment, alcohol or drug-related difficulties, anxiety and stress management, body image, depression, disordered eating, emotional response to physician responsibilities, harassment, individual differences, relationship difficulties, self-esteem, sexuality, sexual victimization, and suicidal thoughts.

All individuals are treated with respect regardless of age, color, counseling concern, ethnicity, gender, marital or parental status, national origin, race, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Counseling is confidential in accordance with state laws and ethical guidelines. Counseling records are maintained in files separate from the student and staff files, and they cannot be accessed by faculty, staff, administrators, parents or other student-staff without the individual’s written permission.

Samia Hasan, MD, provides psychiatric services, including medication management and diagnostic evaluations. Stephanie Cunningham, PhD HSPP, Brian Nichelson, PhD HSPP CAC, Michael Trexler, MA, LMHC and Dana Lasek, PhD HSPP provide counseling services.

All counselors are either a licensed psychologist or licensed mental health counselor. They see patients in Gatch Hall, Suite 600, 1120 W. Michigan Street, 46202. Call 317-278-2383 to make an appointment. A resident or fellow, during a crisis, or for ongoing behavioral health care, can also choose to access their personal group health insurance in which they enrolled as an IU employee. This option involves some out-of-pocket expense to the individual. Find details of health insurance benefits for IU School of Medicine residents and fellows.

Employee and Physician Assistance Program

As employees of Indiana University, all IU School of Medicine faculty, residents and fellows have eligibility and access to the Indiana University Employee Assistance Program (IU EAP). A description of the program and access details are available here.

IU School of Medicine has contracted with the Indiana State Medical Association Physician Assistance Commission (ISMA-PAC) to coordinate efforts in identifying and assisting physicians with illnesses impairing their ability to practice medicine. These illnesses may include chemical dependency, psychiatric illnesses, and/or physical illnesses. The ISMA-PAC was created to assist in the identification, treatment, and rehabilitation of an impaired member of the medical staff and house staff.

The ISMA Commission serves all physicians who provide care at IU Health Methodist, IU Health University Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, VAMC, and Eskenazi Health be they faculty, staff or resident physicians.

If intervention is deemed appropriate, it is undertaken in a confidential, positive, supportive manner, consistent with the laws of the State of Indiana, with the goals of recovery and rehabilitation foremost in mind. For confidential assistance, contact: Candace Backer, ISMA Physician Assistance coordinator, 322 Canal Walk, Indianapolis, IN 46202; Phone: 317-261-2060 or 1-800-257-4762.

Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Services

Spiritual care and chaplaincy services are available through Beth Newton Watson, M.Div, BCC, at IU Health Methodist Hospital, Wile Hall W230. To schedule an appointment, call 317-962-3723 (office) or 317-965-9229 (mobile) or email Beth Newton Watson.

Additional information about chaplaincy services

Mistreatment Portal: Incident Form

Use the Mistreatment Incident Report Form to alert IU School of Medicine authorities about a case of mistreatment.

Mistreatment Form