President's Page: Mental Health is a Top Priority

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I wanted to use this month’s column to highlight some ACCMA activities that support the mental health of our members and the patients we serve. 

ACCMA continues to offer support for physician members through sponsored psychotherapy sessions and confidential peer support from fellow physicians. Our Wellbeing Committee  members have curated a list of experienced mental health professionals who have worked with physicians before, and ACCMA will cover the costs of up to four sessions for any East Bay physician seeking psychotherapy from these clinicians. For those who don’t want psychotherapy, but would value connecting with a supportive peer, you can also contact the ACCMA to be confidentially connected to a member of our Wellbeing Committee who can offer confidential peer support over the phone. This includes support for physicians undergoing litigation or Medical Board investigations. 

Another important component of mental health is feeling connected to community. ACCMA offers many opportunities for physicians to engage with one another and build community. We have started to offer more social events where physicians and their families can connect with colleagues around shared interests and activities. Some of these events are organized by the ACCMA staff while others are organized directly by ACCMA members themselves with financial support from ACCMA. You can find a list of upcoming events on the last page of the Bulletin or by visiting

On the advocacy side, we are focused on a number of mental health related priorities. We are supporting AB 2164 to remove the requirement for physicians to disclose if they received mental health treatment when applying for a medical license. This may unintentionally dissuade doctors from getting the help they need and stigmatizes physicians who seek mental health services. ACCMA also sent a letter recently to the Department of Health Care Services urging changes to the new system for Medi-Cal youth and children to access mental health services, calling for the use of a clinically validated screening tool and for allowing physicians to directly refer patients rather than going through county health departments for additional screening. We also recently sent a letter to the FDA and DEA asking them to take immediate action to address the pervasive
drug shortages for ADHD medications.

I hope these ACCMA resources and activities are meaningful to you, and that you are able to use Mental Health Awareness Month to reflect on optimizing your own mental health and the mental health of your patients.