In December, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared that we’re in a youth mental health crisis. What he neglected to mention is that we’re also in a healthcare provider mental health crisis. According to a new study from APN, a health company specializing in mental health and addiction treatment, healthcare workers in the United States are at a breaking point, and that breaking point is manifesting as substance abuse. Key findings of APN’s survey of 1,000 healthcare workers include:
- Nearly half (49%) of U.S. healthcare workers say they are at a breaking point and 40% say they feel anxiety or dread about going to work. Meanwhile, 64% report increased stress levels in the wake of Roe vs. Wade being overturned.
- While all healthcare workers are struggling, physicians reported struggling the most: 1 in 7 physicians admitted that they consume alcohol or controlled substances at work, and 1 in 5 say they consume alcohol or controlled substances multiple times a day.
- While 1 in 5 physicians say they’ve checked into rehab or a detox facility, another 1 in 5 say they don’t know how to get help because the system is too broken or complicated. Another 1 in 5 are afraid of getting their license revoked.
- On the whole, male healthcare workers are struggling more: 58% reported looking for a new job or being at the brink of burnout compared to 45% of women. This manifests in terms of substance abuse as well. Males are five times more likely to use their position in healthcare to acquire controlled substances, and 4.5 times more likely to consume alcohol or controlled substances at work. Meanwhile, 1/3 men don’t want to admit they have a problem compared to 1/10 women.
“We must put mental health on par with physical health and make it a basic human right, indicator of overall health and an industry standard,” said Noah Nordheimer, founder and CEO of APN, in a statement.