March 9, 2022

Physician Mental Health

Artists Among Us: ACEP's 2021 Annual Report features original art submitted to the 2020 and 2021 HeART of Emergency Medicine Galleries. This piece, Inside the Medical Mind" by Kevin McConkey, MD, depicts "the challenging journey to become a physician leaves many feeling like a machine, a cog-in-the-wheel of our healthcare system. This sculpture explores the complexity of a physician’s psyche, including our academic beginnings, acquired procedural skillsets, and incorporates the ethics of our integrity, compassion, burnout, quality of life, wellness, and perspective." 

Your Advocacy at Work: Senate Passes Dr. Lorna Breen Bill 

Physician mental health is an important legislative priority for ACEP, and we are thrilled about the recent passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Provider Protection Act, named in memory of one of our ACEP colleagues who died by suicide in April 2020.
On Dec. 8, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the ACEP-supported "Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act" (H.R. 1667), sponsored by Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 392 to 36. The U.S. Senate passed its own version of the bill, led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), in early August, but a few minor changes were made to that text during the House legislative process, which will require the Senate to vote on the House-passed bill one final time.

On Feb. 17, 2022, H.R. 1667 was approved by the Senate by unanimous consent, clearing the way for President Biden to sign the bill into law. 

New Funding to Support Physician Mental Health

In early 2021, ACEP was able to secure $140 million in funding for health care workforce mental health grants as part of the “Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act,.” These grants were included in the “American Rescue Plan Act,” with:

  • $80 million for mental and behavioral health training for health care professionals and other health care clinicians and first responders;
  • $20 million for education and an awareness campaign to encourage healthy work conditions and use of mental health services by health care professional; and,
  • $40 million for health care providers to promote mental and behavioral health.

Coalition Prioritizes Wellbeing of Health Care Workforce

ACEP is a founding member of the ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare coalition committed to  prioritizing emotional wellness in the healthcare workforce. More than $10 million has been raised to support healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, and in late December the group launched its interactive online community.  

Shared Frustrations, with a Side of Hope

Peer support is powerful. In September 2021, ACEP members recorded short videos sharing their personal frustrations and how they were coping with the ongoing stress of the pandemic. Watch the videos and remember: You’re not alone. Your peers understand the struggle. 

Physician Wellness Support Pathways

  • ACEP has a Wellness Hub with peer support options and a resource library, available on-demand. 
  • Join ACEP’s Wellness Section to be part of the tribe working to better support EM physician mental health. 


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