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Scotland Deanery

Scotland - home of medical excellence

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 Counselling and Doctor Advisor service

“BMA Counselling is staffed by professional telephone counsellors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and are bound by strict codes of confidentiality and ethical practice.

The Doctor Advisor service runs alongside BMA Counselling giving doctors and medical students in distress or difficulty the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor.

If you wish to use the service call 0330 123 1245  - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”

Doctor Support Service

“Any doctor, you don't have to be a BMA member, where a complaint has been made to the GMC can ask for support from the Doctor support service. Support is available from when a complaint is made until the outcome of the case. Doctors unable to talk with family or supportive colleagues may find the service particularly useful. Support is available from when a complaint is made until the outcome of the case. Unrepresented doctors or doctors with health problems may find the service particularly useful.”


“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.