Objectives: The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems and help-seeking among young physicians, and identify predictors of seeking help.
Methods: A prospective cohort sample of Norwegian medical students (N = 631) were assessed in their final semester (T1), and in the first (T2) and fourth (T3) postgraduate year. The average observation period was 3.6 years.
Results: The prevalence of mental health problems that needed treatment over the preceding year was observed to have increased from 11% at T2 to 17% at T3. There was no increase in help-seeking. Longitudinally, 34% reported that they needed treatment on one or several occasions. Adjusted predictors of help-seeking were perceived level of mental health problems and a reality weakness personality trait.
Conclusion: Those who sought help had higher levels of emotional distress than those who did not. However, higher reality weakness scores predicted lower help-seeking and, therefore, may be a risk factor for avoiding necessary care.