Healthcare professionals talk about their mental health | Find the Words

Right So just sit and…and we kind of… Okay Oh wonderful, thank you Very serious. Turn to the camera please. Ok Terrific, lovely. Ok brilliant. I think the thing I find most stressful, as a GP, and most difficult to deal with from a mental health point of view, is pressure on my time. Everybody who comes in from 8:30 till 11:00 that morning, you will see. Whether it’s 20, 30, 40, 50 people. The working environment is quite highly paced and it can get quite hectic and a bit overwhelming at times. My job is now 24/7. When you’re running a practice you’re looking after everybody. You’re looking after the patients, you’re looking after the GPs, you’re looking after the staff – absolutely everybody. When I’m sat in front of a patient, I want to be focused on them. I want to listen to them, I want to help them, but I’m conscious that I’ve got 80 scans and 100 blood results, and complaint letters to respond to and boxes to tick. I started to feel very overwhelmed at work – I think it was kicked off, initially, by just so many changes. So many regulations that we had to meet. Where I get stressed, is if we haven’t got enough patient slots. So, we’ve got far more patients that are wanting to come in. So many reports we had to write and then I’m trying to, have to, sort of, squeeze them in, juggle them… Outside institutions that we dealt with… I went through quite a severe period of depression. So I’ll get very anxious. I’ll start to panic that I can’t cope and I’m going to make mistakes. I was waking up in the night, also working very long hours. I had to double check, triple check everything I did. Right, so, sorry, what was the second question? Was it hard to….? Yes, okay. It affected my concentration. I felt like I was at risk of making mistakes. And it all began to feel too much for me. I couldn’t stop crying, and I just thought, I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough to do this. And I felt that I’d failed. It’s strange working in healthcare because we…we deal with patients with work stress, mental health problems, burn out all the time but we’re still rubbish at talking about it and we’re still rubbish at saying ‘actually, I’ve gone beyond stress and now my health is suffering.’ I think it’s easier to say something like – ‘I’m burnt out’ I don’t think I thought I wasn’t coping, actually. I think I thought I was busy. I’m here 14 hours a day. I’m physically exhausted. It feels better to them than actually saying ‘this is affecting my mental health’ There is also that fear that if you talk about mental health problems, that that’s somehow going to get into your…your health records or…. …and your professional record as well. You don’t want to appear weak or that you might not be able to cope. You, sort of, want to give that air of ‘I’m in charge, and I know what I’m doing’ The first thing I was encouraged to do was talk to my GP. And that should always be, for any of us, the first step. I’d been chatting to a patient and after they’d gone, my colleague was, sort of, interested in how I knew so much about what I was talking about. And it….we just, sort of, had a chat about what I deal with and my mental health. And it just seemed it was a really nice gentle conversation that just seemed perfectly normal to have, at that moment in time. As soon as you start talking about it, and I started writing about it, suddenly I was getting friends coming up to me and strangers emailing me and saying: oh God, this describes me; this describes how I feel, or how I was feeling. I talk to some patients about my own mental health, when it’s in relation to them, a lot of people who suffer with anxiety will come to the counter. It’s so important to be looking after yourself because that’s the only way that we’re going to do the best for our patients. We can’t give out something that we haven’t got there to start with.

13 Replies to “Healthcare professionals talk about their mental health | Find the Words”

  1. From the Mind email:
    _"It’s also important to be kind to yourself when things go wrong.
    Self-acceptance is about recognising that we do lots of things well, but we don’t get it right all the time.
    We have to pick ourselves up and learn from it."_
    Dr Simon Braybrook.

  2. GPs are heros. They are also human beings. They are overworked, underfunded and don't receive enough support from Central Government.

  3. Long way before entering college (Design) I wanted to study Psychology. As I've always struggled with my own mental health and depression, and nearly no professional helped me effectively except by one or two. I thought it would be a way of learning and helping other people beyond me, even in my family. I never did it because I tend to get involved with people's life a little too much, I mean, it could make me even more depressed… But if someday I change to the point of understanding my life better, to care about living, studying again… I would like to try. I would probably focus on helping older people or the opposite, the children. Because when in retrospect I think about my own problems, they started in childhood – even I having the most caring parents I could ask for. I love my parents and now I see that the problem was me, I couldn't understand the world, I've never felt I was part of it… I still feel this way.

  4. A doctor shouldn't have to work 14 hours a day, thats slave labour, not healthy, going to effect home life especially if you have a family with kids its going to effect the whole family in so many ways.

  5. i wasn't able to listen to this at the time of viewing it so i switched to subtitles and they are so far off the mark it was impossible to follow what was being said. i love these sort of videos but i wish the video makers would use subtitles as well.

  6. I'm not surprised doctors feel overwhelmed with pressure of work – even with all the training they do…ridiculous pressures and who looks after them and does their clinical support? Maybe a better system would be to have double the staff and ok, lower pay but it would be more workable..shorter hours, less patients – appealing thought?

    They'd have to get more people trained up though…

    I've seen good doctors crumble under the strain over the years and once when I asked if could help out in any way one was nearly in tears – I don't think people offer very often.

    Too many people take healthcare for granted and don't do enough self-help – how often do physios prescribe exercises that aren't followed up (mine are boring but they work wonders). They and bloods are also under ridiculous time constraints with it seems little let-up in pressure… one had been complaining for years that mistakes would be made but it seems upper management don't seem to care!

  7. Hi Dr Simon Baybrook,
    This has certainly enlightened my opinion on mental illness. If you have read my post regarding my mental wellbeing I am so glad, as all people I feel can suffer from this dreadful illness. I appreciate you sharing your video with me. Thank you Angie.

  8. Thank to all who made this possible and all who contributed. My qualifications as a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and an Analytical Psychologist gave me no help in understanding Mental Health only " illness" and " pathology". When I woke up after being in that bubble as a result of my own " anxiety" and " depression" I started to find out what mental health might be about beyond a life of " threat" and " drive" based behaviours.I had to retire to do it but am happy working as a Mental Health Coach .

  9. A 10 minute slot, in and out. take the drugs or don't waste time. No, I, long ago, stopped seeking help from my GP. Interesting to hear things from their point of view.

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