The Tennessee Medical Foundation Physician’s Health Program has launched a new mental health resource for use by licensed health professionals it serves across Tennessee. The Tennessee Professional Screening Questionnaire, or TN PSQ, is an online self-screening tool that is now available statewide at tn.providerwellness.org.
The TMF and its partnering organizations, including the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee Hospital Association, and SVMIC, will share the link with their respective communities to help address rising rates of burnout, depression, and suicide among physicians and other licensed medical professionals. A phased rollout through March and April will also share the screening tool with Tennessee’s health professional schools, specialty societies, and other healthcare organizations across the state.
“As the number of mental health referrals to the TMF began to rise, we saw the need to become more proactive in this area,” said TMF Medical Director Michael Baron, MD. “The goal is to connect more people to the help they need earlier in the process, hopefully before there’s a need for intervention by employers, a TMF referral, or licensing board action,” he added.
“There are known barriers to getting help for mental health problems among doctors and other licensed health professionals,” said TMF Administrator Mike Todd. “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,” he said.
The TMF is the first Physician’s Health Program in the country to utilize the Interactive Screening Program (ISP), an online screening platform created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Working in partnership with the AFSP, the TMF has customized the ISP tool for the licensed health professionals it serves in Tennessee, which include physicians (MDs and DOs), physician assistants, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, x-ray technologists, and veterinarians, as well as students, residents, interns, and other trainees for these professions at all levels.
It 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 counselor.
“This tool will be free, totally anonymous, voluntary, and the outcome completely driven by the user,” Dr. Baron said, adding this should address some of the fears involved in asking for help with mental or emotional illness.
Access the TN PSQ
The TN PSQ, available at tn.providerwellness.org, is a 35-question self-screening tool that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. It is based on the PRIME-MD Patient Health Questionnaire and contains the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).
For more information, contact Brenda Williams-Denbo at 615-467-6411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.