LETTER: Who cares for the carers?

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A worrying new survey released on March 22, reveals eight out of 10 doctors know colleagues who are experiencing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Yet they are often reluctant to raise the issue –- and those affected are unlikely to reach out for help – due to associated stigma and fear of discrimination.

The survey was commissioned by The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, a charity which helps doctors, medical students and their families, as part of their new What’s Up Doc? campaign.

The initiative aims to raise awareness of the need to offer support to doctors throughout the UK, who today are working under ever-increasing scrutiny, workload and pressure.

I am all too aware of the stresses and demands on doctors working in all areas of the profession, and hope that by talking openly about these issues we can encourage more people in need of support to come forward.

Every year, the RMBF and its network of 250-plus volunteers support hundreds of doctors and their families who are struggling with financial concerns or ill health – all in complete confidence.

I would urge any doctor or family member in difficulty to reach out – asking for help is not a sign of weakness. 
A new free downloadable guide for professionals, called The Vital Signs, highlights the key pressure trigger points for doctors and signposts organisations for those in need of support.

To access this, or to find out more about the RMBF and their volunteer network, visit www.rmbf.org.uk

After all, these are the professionals who support us in our times of need.

Who cares for the carers?

Dr Mark Porter

GP and medical journalist

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