The power of animation: encouraging doctors to access support for psychological wellbeing

Tricia R. Tooman, Judy Wakeling, Kathryn B. Cunningham, Kathrine Gibson-Smith, Kim A. Walker, Joanne E. Cecil, Anita Laidlaw (Lead / Corresponding author)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already high rates of poor psychological wellbeing in doctors. Many doctors perceive a stigma associated with acknowledging psychological wellbeing concerns, resulting in a reluctance to seek support for those concerns. The aim of this study was to develop a theoretically-informed and evidence-based composite narrative animation (CNA) to encourage doctors to access support for psychological wellbeing, and to evaluate the acceptability of the CNA.

A composite narrative was developed from an evidence-base of interviews with 27 GP participants across Scotland (May–July 2020). The Behaviour Change Wheel was used to identify behaviour change techniques (BCTs) to be embedded within the CNA. The narrative was turned into a script in collaboration with an animation company. A brief animation ‘Jane the GP’ was developed reflecting specific BCTs.

Scottish doctors (n = 83) were asked for their views on acceptability of the CNA concept, and subsequently asked to provide views on the acceptability of the CNA after viewing it. Participants thought the concept of a CNA was novel but may not appeal to all. After viewing the CNA, the widespread view was that it portrayed an authentic experience, could reduce stigma around seeking support for psychological wellbeing, and highlighted formal routes to access such support.

CNAs are a novel and acceptable intervention method for encouraging doctors to access support for psychological wellbeing. The use of a theory driven intervention development framework to create the CNA facilitates the link between theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number320
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Psychology
Early online date1 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2024


  • Doctors
  • Wellbeing
  • Animation
  • Scottish Doctors Wellbeing Study
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • Behaviour change
  • Intervention


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