Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the authors of the following study aimed to determine whether state medical licensure application questions (MLAQs) about mental health are related to physicians’ reluctance to seek help for a mental health condition because of concerns about repercussions to their medical licensure. In 2016, the authors collected initial and renewal medical licensure application forms from 50 states and the District of Columbia. MLAQs related to physicians’ mental health were coded as “consistent” if they inquired only about current impairment from a mental health condition or did not ask about mental health conditions. Data was collected on care-seeking attitudes for a mental health problem from a nationally representative convenience sample of 5829 physicians who completed a survey between August 28, 2014, and October 6, 2014. Only one-third of states currently have MLAQs about mental health on their initial and renewal application forms that are considered consistent. Nearly 40% of physicians reported that they would be reluctant to seek formal medical care for treatment of a mental health condition because of concerns about repercussions to their medical licensure. Physicians working in a state in which neither the initial nor the renewal application was consistent were more likely to be reluctant to seek help. These findings support that MLAQs regarding mental health conditions present a barrier to physicians seeking help.
Rules and Regulations