Oct. 2 (UPI) — A recent study found that many physicians avoid seeking mental health treatment for concern that they might lose their medical license due to regulations.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that licensing requirements in many states include questions regarding past mental health treatments or diagnoses, which may cause medical professionals to avoid seeking help for mental illness.

The study, published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examined the licensing documents for physicians in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and renewal applications in 48 states, along with data collected from a national survey of more than 5,800 physicians regarding mental health care.

“Clearly, in some states, the questions physicians are required to answer to obtain or renew their license are keeping them from seeking the help they need to recover from burnout and other emotional or mental health issues,” Dr. Liselote Dyrbye, a Mayo Clinic physician, said in a press release.

The study showed that nearly 40 percent of respondents of the survey reported they would hesitate to seek professional help for a mental health condition because they were concerned it could have negative impacts on their ability to practice medicine.

Researchers found one-third of states were consistent with the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and the Federation of State Medical Board policies and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act with initial and renewal of licensing documents. The majority of documents asked about past diagnosis or treatment of mental health issues.

Physicians in these majority states were 21 percent more likely to hesitate to seek help for mental health problems.

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