Junior doctors’ morale in the UK is at an all-time low. As a medical student, I witnessed junior doctors feeling dispirited and demoralised about the profession they had worked so hard to enter.
I qualified just after the divisive junior doctor strike in 2016. from within the workforce, I could feel the long hours, heavy work load, lack of rota control, social isolation and frequent rotation moves.
This workplace culture breeds burnout and the sense of being under valued. The effects on the mental health of junior doctors is only just starting to be quantified. Young doctors are suffering from mental health breakdowns, moving abroad in droves and avoiding entering UK higher medical training.
I could feel my own mental health deteriorating and I knew I had to take a break to broaden my horizons and switch off the bleep. In the melee of work, I had forgotten my own reasons for choosing medicine as a career. I planned a long distance cycling challenge.
I hope that by undertaking this 8 month, 19000-mile journey I can raise awareness and promote conversation around the mental health issues experienced by so many junior doctors working across the UK. Doctors should feel confident to ask for help, know where to look, and to have their request treated with sensitivity and respect. In a system where there is absolutely no slack or depth in the workforce putting your hand up to ask for help is not easy. There is so much to be positive about being a doctor; to be the person others turn to when they need mending. Sometimes doctors need mending too.
I’d like to be a positive voice and champion medicine to young people as a rewarding and fulfilling lifelong career. With your donations, we can ensure that there is a caring profession waiting to support them.
The suicide rate amongst doctors is double that of the general population.
Suicide in the medical profession is a complex and sensitive topic, every suicide is an individual tragedy underpinned by unique personal issues and circumstances. However, it is well established that the rate of suicide in the medical profession is significantly higher than the general population and is one of the highest of any professional occupation.
The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund is the UK charity for doctors, medical students and their families.
They provide vital financial help to members of the medical profession facing hardship as a result of illness, injury, bereavement or disability. The majority of the doctors the RMBF helps are, like myself, under the age of 40 – often those who have not yet had the chance to build up a financial safety net. They also work with the BMA to provide DocHealth, which offers confidential psychotherapeutic support for all doctors.
It is estimated that only a quarter of people with mental health problems in the UK receive support each year and that nearly half of all adults in the UK says they’ve experienced a mental health problem at some point.
People need Mind's support more than ever, and demand for their services is growing.
In 2017/2018 their helplines answered almost 100.000 calls this year; by working with employers, they supported nearly 600.000 people to have better mental health at work and their campaigners helped win the fight against changes to the benefits system, making sure 160.000 people with mental health problems are entitled to additional support.
By 2021, They want to reach more children and young people, support the emergency services through troubling times and make sure the NHS is able to treat mental health in the same way as physical health.
With your help Mind can achieve these goals. Your support is going to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.