If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness and are receiving treatment, you may find this area of the site helpful.
The RCPsych leaflets are great if you would like more information about a problem or treatment, but don’t use these to self-diagnose or rule out an illness- if you think you may be unwell then see someone who can give an objective opinion (i.e. your GP- as discussed on the homepage!) These award-winning leaflets from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust are also excellent.
This GMC guidance outlines their expectations for medical schools when they are supporting medical students with mental health concerns.
Here’s a video from the Cleveland Clinic series on empathy featuring doctors and nurses reflecting on their experiences of being unwell.
Support services for medical students and/or doctors
Doctors’ Support Network is an self-help organisation for doctors with any kind of mental illness. They have support groups, newsletters and an internet forum specifically for medical students. They also have a Facebook page. The Tayside contact for DSN is Dr Malcolm Kinnear (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tea and Empathy is a mainly Facebook-based national peer-to-peer support network aiming to foster a compassionate and supportive atmosphere throughout the NHS. They also run courses in some areas, although not in Scotland yet! It’s open to all NHS health professionals. There is a group specifically for students, a Scotland group (and groups for all other areas of the UK- see the main page for details) and various other branch groups including new consultants, addictions, bipolar and “you are not your mistake” (see the main page for details of the last two as they are secret groups). The local Tea and Empathy contact in Tayside is Dr Mhairi Hepburn.
The British Medical Association offer practical advice and support for a wide range of problems. They have a 24 hour telephone counselling and advisory service on 0330 123 1245 (only for BMA members).
The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund’s project Support 4 Doctors gives advice on careers, education, work/life balance, mental and physical health and financial issues. Their advice is aimed at qualified doctors but a lot of it applies to medical students too, and can also be useful if you are thinking about how you will cope with your health problems when you are working.
The Practitioner Health Programme provides confidential NHS treatment for doctors and dentists with mental health problems, addictions and physical health problems (where the illness causes a performance issue) who are unable to access NHS treatment through mainstream local routes due to the nature of their job or illness. Funding varies depending on where you live- have a look at the site for more information.
Mind is a UK charity supporting people with mental illness. “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.“ Their website contains practical advice on a wide range of mental health-related topics and information on their current campaigns. They also have an information helpline on 0300 123 3393.
Think Positive about Student Mental Health “NUS Scotland’s Think Positive campaign promotes good mental health and tackles the negative attitudes that exist about mental ill health. We want a healthy, happy student population across Scotland, but even more so, we want a student population that can talk openly and without concern about their mental wellbeing.”
Scottish Recovery Network gives this definition of recovery “Recovery is being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms. It is about having control over and input into your own life. Each individual’s recovery, like his or her experience of the mental health problems or illness, is a unique and deeply personal process.” The SRN website includes personal stories from people with mental health problems as well as information on recovery, Wellness Recovery Action Planning and a whole lot more.
“Support In Mind Scotland works to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people affected by serious mental illness. This includes those who are family members, carers and supporters. We seek to support and empower all those affected by mental illness.”
See Me Scotland is a Scottish anti-stigma organisation. They have an online blog and forum, mental health information and regional meetings.
Time to Change are an anti-stigma organisation covering England and Wales. They have a lot of good resources suitable for people anywhere, including a lot of blogs and personal stories.
Medhelp.org provide trackers for monitoring your mood as well as sleep pattern, exercise and physical symptoms. It’s an American site and so a lot of the other information doesn’t apply here, but the trackers are great- quick and easy to use and the mood tracker allows you to chart different symptoms as well as mood level.
But You Don’t Look Sick is an online community for people with chronic illness/invisible disability (including mental health problems. Christine Miserandino’s article “The Spoon Theory” is probably the best-known article on the site and is an excellent analogy that can be used to explain a bit about living with a chronic illness.
Illness-specific support services- I’m sorry I don’t have resources for all illnesses; if you’re aware of any other helpful organisations please let me know and I will add them. In particular I am looking for good, sound resources for PTSD and personality disorder.
Glasgow Centre for Eating Disorders. There is a small fee for some of their services to cover costs. They are based in Glasgow but help can be accessed by anyone in Scotland.
The Recovery Letters is a blog of letters from people recovering from depression, to people who are currently unwell.
The Practitioner Health Programme estimates that there are 1400-2000 doctors with bipolar disorder currently working in the UK.
Beating Bipolar is a free online course that can help you to understand your illness and use self-help strategies along with medical treatment to stay well.
Tea and Empathy has a private Facebook group for doctors with bipolar disorder. Join the main group first then PM a moderator to ask to join the bipolar group.
The British Doctors and Dentists’ Group is a mutual support service for doctors and dentists recovering from, or wishing to recover from, addiction/dependency on alcohol or other drugs.
The Sick Doctors’ Trust supports doctors and medical students suffering from any degree of dependence on drugs or alcohol. They have a confidential 24 hour helpline on 0870 444 5163.
Tea and Empathy (mentioned above) have a private group specifically for health professionals with any kind of addiction (substances, gambling, food, internet, etc). Join the main group first then PM a moderator to ask to join the addictions group.
Autistic Spectrum Disorders