The BMA has called for a confidential service for doctors and dentists experiencing mental health problems to be extended across the UK.
The Practitioner Health Programme offers support to doctors and dentists living in London. It also deals with addiction issues.
The BMA's medical students' representative Latifa Patel said mental health was "not a small issue" and that medics were more likely to suffer from depression or commit suicide.
Miss Patel told the BMA's conference in Cardiff: "40% of people in this room will be forced to retire early due to a psychiatric illness. 7% of the people in this room will have a substance misuse problem at one stage in their life.
"And 10% of junior doctors harbour thoughts of suicide."
She added that many doctors and dentists fear disciplinary action or being struck off if they disclose details of their mental illness.
"That should be a given, how can healthcare professionals in all disciplines give off their best if they are suffering themselves. It is the worst of discrimination when the people looking after us dare not speak out" – Alan Pearman, Rotherham