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Frequently Asked Questions

If I see a therapist, will my license be in jeopardy?

Not likely. The 1990 enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and subsequent case law have established that medical board screening of physician licensure applicants for histories of mental illness or substance use may constitute discrimination. The current California Medical License application asks the following question related to mental health treatment: “Have you been diagnosed with an emotional, a mental, or behavioral disorder which impairs your ability to practice medicine safely.” So, it appears that if you have not been impaired by a mental or physical illness, your license should not be in jeopardy. Here is the link to the current application for California medical licensure by U.S. and Canadian medical school graduates, if you wish to read the specific language.

Who will see my completed Stress & Depression Questionnaire?

One of the HEAR counselors will be reviewing your questionnaire. They are the only individuals who will see your completed questionnaire. And, your identity is completely protected. The counselor will only see the username that you created and your answers to the questionnaire. You can remain completely anonymous, if you wish, during the assessment and referral process. In addition, if you provide an email address, it will be encrypted in the system and will not be revealed under any circumstances.

I’m worried that my colleague may be depressed — what can I do to help?

You only need to listen, care, and offer resource/referral information. We would suggest that you meet privately with your colleague, and express your concern and caring. Mention the behaviors you have observed that have caused your concern. Listen attentively and without judgment to your colleague’s response and encourage him/her to talk. If you are concerned about your colleague’s safety, ask if they are considering suicide. A colleague that is seriously considering suicide will be relieved that you asked. Don’t worry, asking about suicide will not put the idea in your colleague’s head. Ask your colleague what they think would help them to feel better. Suggest resources that you think would be helpful and/or refer them to this program. They can take the online screening questionnaire, or just call one of the HEAR counselors directly for support and a personalized referral to a mental health provider, if they are interested.

I do not want to reveal my identity — can I still get help?

Yes. You can dialogue with the counselor using your username as your only identifying information. Or, you can call or meet with a counselor and you do not need to ever give your name, department, etc.

I don’t want to be on medication, but does therapy work?

Research has shown that both antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are highly effective treatments. There is also evidence that people who receive psychotherapy continue to improve even after therapy ends.

Can I get long-term care with a HEAR counselor?

No, but the HEAR program is intended to help you find long-term care. We would be happy to help talk to you about options for therapists and psychiatrists for long-term care in the community. If you're a clinically active physician, resident, or fellow you also have access to on-going behavioral coaching, therapy, and psychiatry through Ginger. For more information, go to Physician Wellness.

All UC San Diego employees can access therapy through our Employee Assistance Program, which includes 3 covered visits per concern per year. Call to access your covered visits: 866-808-6205.

For Medical Students: If I get help, will it be recorded in my academic record or dean’s letter?

No. None of this will happen. There will be no record of this in your academic record and no mention in your Dean’s letter.

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We hope that you will take advantage of this important and confidential way of finding out how stress or depression may be affecting you.

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HEAR is a unique support service, but it is not considered a psychiatric treatment or crisis/emergency intervention. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call or text the crisis helpline at 988 or send a chat on