Department of Psychiatry

Resident Wellness

Wellness goes beyond merely the absence of distress and includes being challenged, thriving, and achieving success in various aspects of personal and professional life (Wallace). The Department of Psychiatry recognizes that burnout is a prevalent phenomenon of the work environment, and is committed to a ‘culture of wellbeing’, including the development of infrastructure and learning environments that support the development of a sense of professional identity, purpose, resilience and the ability to thrive in one’s career.  We also encourage residents to find ways to maintain their health and wellbeing. Residency can be a challenging period of ongoing change, steep learning curves, and multiple demands, coupled with a lack of experience of how to manage growing responsibilities. Like all physicians, residents face an increased risk of burnout and mental health issues compared to the general population.

Wellness Resources:

Psychiatry Residency Program

Psychiatry Resident Association of Toronto (PRAT)

PRAT offers two retreats each academic year. These retreats are an opportunity to come together as the larger resident (PGY1-5) community, to facilitate connection, fun and an opportunity to learn about important issues affecting physician wellbeing. Guest speakers focus on important topics like tackling stigma against physicians accessing mental health resources, to concepts like ‘financial wellbeing’. The retreat is also aimed at providing residents at each training year an informal avenue to provide feedback regarding their rotation experiences to the incoming year. The retreats are held off-site and without staff presence.

In addition to the retreats, PRAT offers social events for residents all year round. This can range from games night, pub night, to sessions on career planning.

Psychiatry’s Resident Advisor

Contact the Department of Psychiatry’s Resident Advisor for confidential discussion, advice or involvement. The Resident Advisor works at arm’s length from the postgraduate training program. No one in the department will know that you have contacted the Ombudsperson, or what you have disclosed, without your permission. Please visit the Resident Advisor page.

PRPC Subcommittee on Resident Wellbeing

The mandate of this committee is to develop and maintain programs in support of psychiatry resident wellbeing. Recognizing that factors affecting wellbeing in residency training draw from individual, organizational (the residency program, individual hospitals, and the broader medical community) as well as systems factors (provincial health care system), this committee aims to understand how these factors affect our residents perceived wellbeing during training, and will work through the PRPC to develop and support policies, processes, and programs that support residents.

Resident Wellness Committee

Since it’s inception in 2016, the Psychiatry Resident’s Association of Toronto (PRAT) Wellness Committee has strived to advocate for and integrate wellness in the Department of Psychiatry. Our vision is threefold: (1) to enhance resident engagement and build a strong community, (2) to advocate for preserving resident resilience, (3) and to build strategic partnerships with other programs. We meet semi-regularly throughout the year, and organize wellness-themed events (yoga, trampoline dodgeball, board games, rock climbing).

All current Psychiatry residents are welcome to join! If you’re interested, please contact your PRAT representative.

The Office of Resident Wellness

The Office of Resident Wellness is part of the Department of Postgraduate Medicine at the University of Toronto. It provides the following services

  • Family doctor registry
  • Referrals to GP-psychotherapists
  • Short-term counseling and wellness coaching
  • Support during remediation/academic difficulty
  • Educational programming/wellness workshops

For more information contact (416) 946-3074 or pgwellness@utoronto.ca

Professional Support

PAIRO resident wellbeing committee
http://www.myparo.ca

PARO Helpline 1-866-HELPDOC (1-866-435-7362)

Ontario Medical Association (OMA)

The OMA offers various Wellness Resources through their website:

  • Professionals Health Program offers range of direct services to physicians and their family members. Call 1-800-851-6606 for direct access
  • Podcasts on managing stress, resilience and anxiety
  • Mindfulness exercises

​​​​​Informal Mentor

Residents are encouraged to work with their supervisors, site directors and local physicians-in-chief to find suitable mentors. The selection of mentors is a complex process. Sometimes it's done on the basis of fit, sometimes based on a mutual interest, sometimes based on similarities (like gender). If you have an unmet need, I encourage you to speak with me mark.fefergrad@sunnybrook.ca, or Deanna Chaukos Deanna.chaukos@sinaihealthsystems.ca - our PG Wellness Lead and Associate Program Director. We will be happy to support you. 
paula.ravitz@sinaihealthsystems.ca is the head of out PHES (Psychotherapy, Humanities and Education Scholarship) division and can help residents navigate the process of finding psychotherapeutic care. 

EPhysician Health

EPhysicianHealth is interactive multi-media based website that offers surveys, video vignettes/advice, information on burnout, suicide, nutrition, and much more. Information provided is up-to-date and directed towards health professionals. The site also includes a list of resources (i.e., books, articles, online, local resources).

List of Psychiatrists

A list of psychiatrists offering care to residents is available on our student Portal. Residents can access it by logging in and clicking on “Resident Wellness”. The list is available as an Excel file.

Intimidation and Harassment Resources

1. Department Supports

Residents are encouraged to consider chief residents and PRAT representative as supports. Concerns will be addressed in a confidential manner. If the concern involves intimidation and/or Harassment residents are strongly encourage to bring the issue forward to either their staff supervisors, the Program Director, and/or the Committee for Supervisor Evaluation and Support.

2. Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO)

PARO believes that resident intimidation is unacceptable. The PARO-CAHO contract includes policies that protect residents from Intimidation and Harassment. If a resident feels they are being harassed, they can contact the PARO office for information and advice 1.877.979.1183. Calls will remain confidential and the office will not proceed further until you direct them to do so.