We all have mental health

&me is a mental health anti-stigma campaign for health professionals

One in four people will experience a mental health issue in the next twelve months, and, of course, that includes those in the healthcare professions, such as doctors, dentists, pharmacists and veterinary surgeons.

In fact, for those professionals, the risk of poor mental health and suicide is higher than the population at large. But the stigma attached to mental ill-health makes it particularly hard for those in professions where they are expected to be on top, to care for everyone else and not to show any perceived weakness. Uncertainty about fitness to practise issues can also contribute to stress for those in regulated professions.

This makes it difficult for these health professionals to seek the help they need and get well, putting unnecessary pressure on their working and personal lives which can, ultimately, put those lives at risk.

&me aims to encourage senior people within the healthcare professions to come forward with their stories to show that we all have mental health, and that a mental health problem does not exclude people from achieving leading roles in healthcare.

We launched &me at the House of Commons on 31 January 2017 in conduction with the Doctors’ Support Network, at an event kindly supported by Kevan Jones MP.

&me will share stories on social media using the hashtag #AndMe, and through other media outlets.

By reducing stigma and showing that it is possible to continue to flourish in your career no matter where you are on the mental health continuum, these role models will help those who are not yet seeking help or who are struggling with their diagnosis to speak to appropriate people. We are not encouraging those who are currently or recently unwell to go public: that would not be appropriate.

Those considering joining the campaign should first contact Louise Freeman of the Doctors’ Support Network on vicechair@dsn.org.uk for a discussion about the potential personal impact: keeping everyone safe is our priority.

Please help us by retweeting #AndMe stories and supporting those who come forward to share their experiences.