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Trainee information

Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone

If you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed, worried that you are not coping or if you think a colleague, friend or someone you supervise is struggling, there are people who want to listen and understand, and places you can go to for support.

The organisations below can all provide help, advice, support and a listening ear. Remember colleagues, friends and supervisors or trainers will also support you if you choose to discuss your feelings.


Feeling Overwhelmed - Helping you Stay Safe (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

Breathing Space

'Sometimes our thoughts and feelings can overwhelm us. It helps to get some Breathing Space. You are not alone and talking about how you feel is a positive first step in getting help.

Breathing Space aims to provide an alternative and easily accessible ‘first stop’ service and assistance at an early stage in order to stop problems escalating'.

Call free 0800 83 85 87, 24 hrs at weekends and 6pm-2am Mon-Thurs.


“Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.

Whatever you're going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We're here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it's best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don't have to be suicidal to call us.

Please don’t suffer alone.”

NHS 24

'NHS 24 is an online and out-of-hours phone service providing the Scottish people with access to health advice and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

NHS 24 operates an out-of-hours phone service providing help if your GP surgery is closed and you are too ill to wait until it re-opens.

During the call you will be asked about your location and your reason for contacting the service. This will be used to direct your call to a suitable health professional. They will talk to you about your symptoms and tell you what care they think you need. They might suggest that you treat yourself at home, that you see a doctor or another health professional or, in some cases, they might call an ambulance for you'.

You can contact the NHS 24 phone service on 111.


NHS Inform
Information on how to access mental health services and what to do in a crisis

“We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.


Support For Doctors

BMA Wellbeing Support


Our counselling service is staffed by professional telephone counsellors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All counsellors are members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and are bound by strict codes of confidentiality and ethical practice. 

You can talk to them over the phone or by video. Ongoing counselling is available, and you can arrange regular appointments. Having spoken to a counsellor, you can request to speak to that person again. It can be more helpful to speak to the same counsellor each time, giving you continuity of care and providing you with more effective support.

The counsellors are there to help you deal with a variety of issues. By seeking constructive help you may identify ways of addressing the root causes of your concerns and develop strategies to reduce the impact of the consequences.

Peer Support

Our peer support service offers doctors and medical students in distress or difficulty the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor. It's confidential peer support with an emotional focus.

Ask to speak to a doctor and you will be given the details of one of our team, who are experienced in supporting colleagues. You can arrange ongoing conversations at mutually convenient times.

Our peer support doctors can provide reflective space, working with you to gain insight into your problems. They can signpost, if appropriate, to other sources of support.

Our doctors do not provide diagnoses or treatment, this is not an emergency service. 

Contact Information

Access counselling (24 hours a day, seven days a week) and peer support on 0330 123 1245.
For further information about these services please call 020 7383 6739 or email wellbeingsupport@bma.org.uk


“DocHealth is a new confidential, not for profit, psychotherapeutic consultation service for all doctors. The pilot service is delivered by Consultant Medical Psychotherapists based at BMA House in London. Although located in London the service is open to all doctors in the UK.  For doctors living a considerable distance from London we are able to offer, after the initial face-to-face consultation, further consultations by skype. It is supported by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF).”



 With thanks to Health Education England for the original material used on this page.

This page was last updated on: 21.06.2021 at 14.04