MDU and Doctors in Distress partner to provide members with mental health and wellbeing support

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK's leading medical defence organisation, has launched a new partnership with independent charity Doctors in Distress to provide MDU members with access to health and wellbeing services to support positive mental health.

The partnership, launched today (13 November) to coincide with World Kindness Day, focuses on two initiatives. The first is a series of three 10-week peer support groups for foundation doctors.

These informal sessions, run by an accredited facilitator, will have no set conversations. Each week, the group will focus on topics driven by the participants themselves.

Alongside the peer support groups, the MDU and Doctors in Distress will also co-host a series of webinars for final year students as part of the latter’s Dr1in4 series. Unfortunately, one in four doctors will struggle with a mental health difficulty at some point in their career. As such, the Dr1in4 series is designed to break down the barriers around discussing mental health within the healthcare profession through a series of interviews and Q&As. 

Doctors in Distress also offers a range of free online programmes such as creative writing, photography and living with grief, through which medical professionals can come together and learn from fellow medics with lived mental health experiences.

Feedback from these groups has been overwhelmingly positive with participants commenting:

"It provided a forum to discuss similar issues that others have faced and are still currently facing today. It is the first forum where I feel that I am heard."

"A space to be valued not just as a number and a nameless member of a workforce but allowed the time and space to express our humanity and personality in a way that our jobs often will not allow us."

"Thank you for helping those of us who have difficulties believing in ourselves because of mental health problems and thank you for offering examples of people who were able to succeed in the medical profession despite their difficulty with mental health issues!"

Dr Caroline Fryar, director of medical services at the MDU, commented:

"Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals feel overworked, overwhelmed, burned out and under greater pressure than ever before. At the MDU, we are always looking for ways to support our members and partner with organisations who also understand the concerns and difficulties medical professionals are currently facing.

"I’m pleased that through our partnership with Doctors in Distress, our student and foundation members will be able to access a safe, confidential space and psychological support services."

Ann Paul, chief executive officer at Doctors in Distress, said:

“Doctors in Distress is delighted to be partnering with the MDU and is pleased to announce our joint commitment to expanding the provision of confidential and safe spaces for all healthcare professionals. This partnership reinforces our shared dedication to protecting the mental health of medical professionals and furthering our mission to prevent suicide within the profession.”

This page was correct at publication on 13/11/2023. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.