1st Edition

Beneath the White Coat Doctors, Their Minds and Mental Health

Edited By Clare Gerada Copyright 2020
    305 Pages 10 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    305 Pages 10 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    305 Pages 10 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This timely book offers a balanced and thoughtful review of the current mental health emergency and its impact upon and among medical professionals, supported by the best available evidence and illustrated through real-life cases. Recognising the increasing stressors in the role including the impact of the environment in which doctors work, the book examines some of the key emotional drivers for this unhappiness among doctors at work – shame, stigma, suffering and sacrifice – and offers practical steps to emotional and physical recovery.

    Despite the obvious challenges and stresses of the role, with the right support in place the vast majority of doctors can thrive in their jobs. In reading this book, policy makers, politicians, educators, hospital managers will be reminded of the ethical duty to ensure that doctors are cared for and have access to the time, people and spaces to remain psychological healthy, while doctors will learn to recognize and seek actively the help that they need, and to support and guide one another.





    1. The making of a doctor: medical self and group of belonging

    2. Mental illness in doctors: an historical context

    3. What makes medicine such a difficult task master and doctors at higher risk of mental illness?

    4. Rising levels of mental illness, fact or fiction?

    5. Surviving and thriving in medicine

    6. Resilience

    7. Shame in medicine

    8. Suffering, sacrifice and stigma


    9. Doctors and mental illness: an overview

    10. Doctors and substance misuse disorder

    11. Autism in doctors

    12. Burnout in doctors

    13. Suicide in doctors and its sequelae

    14. Bipolar disorder and other psychotic states

    15. COVID-19 and mental illness


    16. Doctors as patients

    17. Doctors treating doctors

    18. The doctors’ doctor

    19. How to be a good enough patient: from sickness to health

    20. Services for mentally ill doctors

    21. The migrant doctor

    22. Medical students

    23. Different specialities and risk of mental illness

    24. Talking helps


    25. Sticking to the rules: professional and unprofessional behaviour

    26. Making sense of the regulatory process

    27. Improving the outcome of a serious investigation



    Dr Clare Gerada has been a medical practitioner since 1982. Having first trained in psychiatry she became a GP in 1992, and has worked in the same practice ever since. She has been heading up a groundbreaking service for sick doctors (practitioner-patients) since 2008 which has rapidly become an international leader. Between 2010-2013 she led the Royal College of General Practitioners, the largest of all the of Royal Colleges, and only the second women to hold this Office in its history.

    "Clare’s passion for medicine is profound and it is a thread that weaves its way through every page. This book will be invaluable to medical students, doctors and is equally relevant to nurses and other health professions. It will also be of interest to the general public. The research and references are truly impressive and will signpost the reader to a myriad of further reading. I anticipate it will be read for decades to come." -Dr Peter Carter, independent healthcare consultant, former chief executive, Royal College of Nursing

    "Whether you have worn the white coat, worked with the white coats, or done your best to avoid them, there is something valuable here for you. Beneath the White Coat offers hope, but it is a difficult and serious journey. Looking at the dangers on the way to becoming and practicing as a doctor is painful and makes one want to look away. It takes courage to look honestly at the challenges along the way to becoming a healer. Dr Gerada takes us deeply into the journey and shines a light on what can go wrong. Reading the book is a comforting guide to our own journey in becoming a healer and finding help when we get off the path. The book offers excellent advice on helping doctors and mental health professionals." Dale C. Godby & Tina Ali Mohammad for the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy