Canadian Medical Association

With the country’s health care system in crisis, the ramifications of the pandemic continue to drastically affect the emotional and physical well-being of physicians, medical learners and other health care workers across Canada. You’re likely working longer hours and juggling heavier workloads, all while many of you have had to also deal with harassment.

While system-level change to address these challenges must happen, there are steps you can take to improve your mental health. We’re here to help you manage your wellness with proven services and resources in our Pandemic Wellness Toolkit.

ACCESS SUPPORT SERVICES AND RESOURCES


Support for physicians experiencing harassment

The Threats and harassment page offers resources and services to support physicians and medical learners experiencing threats and harassment in person and online.

Learn more


image used for Wellness Support Line showing physician leaning over a sink looking tired

Wellness Support

List of national crisis support lines and provincial health programs for physicians

Learn more


image used for The Wellness Connection showing woman communicating virtually

Wellness Connection

The Wellness Connection offers free, virtual peer support sessions led by trained facilitators to physicians and medical learners.

Learn more


image used for the Physician Wellness hub showing a close up face of a doctor

Physician Wellness Hub

The Physician Wellness Hub provides reliable wellness tools and resources to empower physicians, medical learners, leaders and educators to create change in the culture of medicine.

Learn more


Connect with peers

virtual meeting showing all participants on a computer screen

You’re not alone. Connect with other physicians to share your experiences and coping strategies.


Support your team

Three physicians talking to each other in a hospital hall way

As a leader, you can support your team and their well-being.

Check your vitals

Being stressed or overwhelmed can make it hard to recognize when we need support. Use this mental health continuum model for physicians to check in with yourself.

HEALTHY

How you're feeling

  • Normal mood fluctuations
  • Calm, takes things in stride
  • Sense of humour
  • Good concentration, performing well
  • Normal sleep patterns
  • Normal eating patterns, stable weight
  • Physically well, active
  • Socially active
  • No or limited alcohol consumption/substance use/addictive behaviours
     

Recommended actions

  • Focus on the task at hand
  • Break problems into manageable tasks
  • Be mindful of how you are feeling; take controlled, deep breaths
  • Nurture your support system; recognize the signs of distress in your colleagues and offer support where possible
  • Understand that is it okay to ask for support
  • Access physician wellness resources to learn more about peer support, organizational wellness, leadership and much more
     

 

REACTING

How you're feeling

  • Nervousness, irritability 
  • Sadness, overwhelmed 
  • Displaced sarcasm 
  • Distracted, loss of focus, intrusive thoughts 
  • Changes in sleep patterns 
  • Changes in eating patterns, some weight gain or loss 
  • Low energy, procrastination
  • Decreased social activity 
  • Some to regular alcohol consumption/substance use/addictive behaviours (controlled) 
     

Recommended actions

  • Recognize limits, take breaks
  • Take care of the basics: get enough rest, water, food, exercise
  • Seek out peer support - check out the Wellness Connection which offers free virtual sessions for physicians and medical learners
  • Identify and resolve problems early - if problems persist, contact the Wellness Support Line and/or your provincial physician health program for support
  • Access physician wellness resources to learn more about self-compassion, resilience, civility and much more

 

INJURED

How you're feeling

  • Anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness
  • Negative attitude
  • Recurrent intrusive thoughts/images/nightmares
  • Difficulty concentrating, decreased performance
  • Restless, disturbed sleep, increased fatigue
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Increased aches and pain
  • Avoidance, tardiness
  • Frequent alcohol consumption/substance use/addictive behaviours (hard to control)
     

Recommended actions

  • Recognize your own signs of distress and make self-care a priority
  • Maintain social contact, don’t withdraw – try using the buddy system to stay connected
  • Contact the Wellness Support Line and/or your provincial physician health program for crisis support and everyday wellness issues
  • Access physician wellness resources to learn more about grief, trauma, stress and much more

 

ILL

How you're feeling

  • Excessive anxiety, panic attacks, angry outbursts, aggression
  • Depressed mood and/or suicidal thoughts
  • Noncompliant
  • Cannot concentrate or perform duties
  • Cannot fall asleep/stay asleep, constant fatigue
  • Extreme weight fluctuations
  • Physical illnesses
  • Withdrawal, absenteeism
  • Significant trouble/impact due to alcohol consumption/substance use/addiction
     

Recommended actions

 

This model has been adapted from a model created by the Canadian Armed Forces.

''

PHYSICIAN WELLNESS PODCAST

Finding meaning: Frontline physicians in Ukraine
This episode explores why two Canadian emergency doctors chose to volunteer at the Ukraine/Poland border and how the experience left them with a renewed sense of purpose in medicine.

test Listen now

Other Pandemic wellness topics

Understand some of the challenges physicians face and what can be done to improve them.


Credit Eligibility

Completing activities and accessing resources in this toolkit can count towards continuing professional development credits. 

When reporting this activity for CPD credits, please describe it as "CMA Pandemic Wellness Toolkit".

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program

Follow these steps to claim credits under MOC Section 3: Practice Assessment for three credits/hour:  

  1. Complete the Check Your Vitals self-assessment.
  2. Attend one or more one-hour Wellness Connection virtual group support sessions.
  3. Leverage Physician Wellness Hub wellness resources (choose content in line with your wellness goals under Connect with Peers, Support Your Team, Pandemic Wellness Topics, Sound Mind, and other resources).
  4. Repeat steps two and three as needed. 
  5. Check Your Vitals again after your wellness process (steps 2 through 4) feels complete to see how your wellness has changed.   

All Steps must be completed to claim credits. Time spent on steps 1 through 5 can be claimed for three credits/hour. Every wellness improvement cycle (steps 1 through 5) you complete can be claimed for credit.   

If you have questions, please contact the MOC team at 1-800-461-9598 or cpd@royalcollege.ca.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Mainpro+

This activity has not been formally reviewed by the CFPC; however, it is eligible for non-certified credits. The following Mainpro + categories apply when claiming credits for activities:

Notes:  

  • COVID- 19: Learning on the go form: ‘Self-Learning’ activities within this Toolkit are eligible for two certified Mainpro+ credits under the Self-Learning, certified activities. 
  • Mainpro+ participants may also claim five certified credits by completing a Linking Learning exercise. All Linking Learning exercises can be found under the Certified Assessment Menu in Mainpro+.

If you have questions, please contact the Mainpro+ team at 1-800-387-6197 ext. 560 or mainprocredits@cfpc.ca.