SAVING lives is an everyday job for many healthcare workers, but the pressure can take a heavy toll.
Devastatingly, two medical staff in the UK die of suicide each week – this includes nurses, doctors, paramedics and more.
Adam Kay has helped launch a new memorial to medics who sadly took their own livesCredit: Darren Fletcher
The tree is named after a character in This Is Going To HurtCredit: Darren Fletcher
To commemorate the lost lives of brave healthcare professionals, comedian and former doctor Adam Kay has planted a memorial tree at Ealing Hospital – the first of its kind in the UK.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: “It’s an unthinkable tragedy. We don’t talk about mental health enough, especially within the profession.
“This tree is the first ever memorial in the UK to the amazing medics who took their own lives. It means a huge amount to me.
“I knew people who took their own lives, and I’m not alone. The truth of the matter is, if you speak to any medical staff they’ll all have a connection to someone who has killed themselves.”
In the BBC drama This Is Going To Hurt – an adaptation of Adam’s hit memoir about working in the NHS – a similar tree was planted to mark the loss of a doctor who took her own life.
The memorial tree came about after fans of BBC1 series This Is Going To Hurt got in touch with Adam saying they couldn’t find the tree planted in the series at Ealing Hospital.
It led to Ealing Hospital, where the programme was filmed, agreeing to plant the tree after fans got in touch with Adam saying they could not find it in real life.
It has been named Shruti’s Tree, after the character in the show.
Adam, who is a judge for this year’s Who Cares Wins awards, added: “A doctor in the UK takes their own life every three weeks. I hope we can look forward to a time in the future when that doesn’t happen.
“There are lots of amazing charities working to help stop suicide of medics happening. I’m proud to be here for the first memorial.”
The planting is backed by charities The Laura Hyde Foundation (LHF) and Doctors in Distress – both aimed at helping healthcare workers with mental health.
Jennie Barnes – who set up LHF after her niece Laura, an A&E nurse, killed herself – believes the memorial is an important way to raise awareness about the profession’s often-hidden pressures.
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She said: “I hope this will help many more staff in the profession feel there is no stigma around mental health.
“In fives years, I’d like to see one of these in every hospital. Laura was bright and vivacious but underneath all that, she was struggling with work stress.
“She covered up how bad it was with her laughter, so after she died we wanted to do something good in her name.”
The charity runs a 24-hour helpline to support medics that are struggling and is now involved in the training of student nurses and doctors to make them aware of the pressures when they qualify.
Fellow charity Doctors in Distress provides support to doctors who are struggling and tries to push for legislative change.
Amandip Sidhu started the non-profit organisation after his brother, Dr Jagdip Sidhu, killed himself because he felt trapped and unable to escape his suffering.
Speaking about the tree, Amandip said: “After losing my brother I wanted to do something to try and help the situation.
“Having something like this tree and Adam Kay is absolutely phonomenal. It gives a platform to the issue.”
This Is Going To Hurt ended with Shruti taking her own life due to work stressCredit: BBC Press Handout
Adam was joined by Jennie and Amandip, who both lost family to suicideCredit: Darren Fletcher
Adam planted the tree alongside the NHS’s medical director, Stephen PowisCredit: Darren Fletcher
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