The prestigious setting of the House of Commons was the venue for the launch of the new “&me” campaign.
The afternoon tea event saw senior clinicians speaking publically about their own journey with a mental health condition. A collaboration between Doctors’ Support Network (DSN) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’, Mind Matters Initiative, and supported by Kevan Jones MP. The year-long “&me” campaign aims to reduce stigma around mental health.
Key Speakers at the “&Me Campaign”
Kevan Jones MP, one of the first MPs to speak publicly about their own mental health, addressed the audience, encouraging people to speak publically about their mental health:
“Depression and mental illness is an equal opportunity condition; it doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, how intelligent you are, or where you are in society, it can affect anyone.”
His two key messages were:
• Get mental health out of the dark corners and get people talking about it;
• Don’t write people off if they have a mental health condition
Vice Chair for the DSN, Louise Freeman, spoke about her own experience with depression and her difficulties she faced at work due to this. She hopes the campaign will remove the stigma and misconceptions of mental health conditions in the workplace:
“The &me campaign can start to address this by encouraging senior healthcare professionals, who are currently well, but have experienced mental health problems, to disclose that they have ‘been there themselves’.”
Lizzie Lockett, the director of Mind Matters described medical professionals to be in the “perfect storm” of expectations and stress, highlighting the need for good mental health support.
Senior vets and medical clinicians shared their personal experiences of having mental health conditions and how they have flourished in their careers despite being unwell in the past.
Good mental health within the profession and an “open culture” to discuss mental health would benefit healthcare professionals and patient care.
&me will be sharing stories on social media using the hashtag #AndMe and through other media outlets.
Anyone interested in learning more about the campaign or are interested in joining the campaign and speaking out about their personal experiences should first please contact Dr. Louise Freeman of the DSN at email@example.com to discuss the potential personal impact of being involved.