The challenges of mental health: an inconvenient reality

Participation of Vytenis Andriukaitis, Member of the EC, at the Ministerial Conference on the follow up to the fipronil incident
Date: 26/09/2017. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union , 2017 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service. Photo: Dario Pignatelli

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr James Carlos Vella, a second year medical student from Malta. James Carlos is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Despite the intellectual and anthropological advances that characterise everyday life in the modern society of the Western world, it seems that yet, not enough has been done to remove the issue of mental health from its top place in society’s list of taboos.

Unfortunately, the autonomous acknowledgement that oneself or else a fellow friend or family member may have a mental health problem is still put aside and neglected for the convenience that we perceive that by accepting the truth, we would just be adding another big problem to our lives. However, we would just be sitting on a ticking bomb, instead of dealing with the crux of the matter.

This is even more so in the medical environment – doctors think twice before speaking up their intuition that they might have a mental health disorder, because most likely they will be looked down on and considered as something that should be dealt with carefully, as if it involves a contagious diagnosis.

However, the reality remains that doctors work in a profession where they have to deal with the most general cause of mental health damage – toxic stress. Medical health professionals are constantly exposed to sleep-depriving long working shifts – while being on-call – and often without a break. They must endure demeaning bullying from seniors – especially as junior doctors – while having to be competitive to be able to advance in their career. It is no wonder that doctors fear of becoming patients themselves when they ask for help – they would give the impression that they are weak and not capable of keeping up with their fellow colleagues in delivering professionalism at its very best.

Many tend to obliviate the fact that doctors do have a personal life outside the clinic with all its bright and bad sides, as every professional remains a vulnerable human being. To have a diligent doctor-patient relationship, doctors have to leave all their personal luggage behind them as soon as they put on their white coat and stethoscope and enter the clinic. In reality, this is easier said than done especially if there is a lack of a strong, reliable person support system.

Doctors should remain loyal to the oath that they took when they became health professionals – that they should strive to work for the greater good of present and future generations – therefore seeing persons as individuals and not as a bunch of people, and this should apply as well to fellow medics. The same empathic and trustworthy behaviour that doctors should show to patients, should be extended to colleagues when mental health issues are involved in order to produce a finer-working medical system that provides a better service to the public.

The mental health concerns of a fellow doctor should not be waved away, but instead, on-going support to medical health professionals should be provided to help doctors deal with the stressful workload that their profession entails.

About the author

James Carlos Vella is a 2nd year Maltese medical student (an MMSA member), and has a special interest in molecular biology and cancer genetics. In the future, he would like to specialise and carry out research in his fields of interest. James Carlos insists that one should keep a healthy mental lifestyle, done by having a proper work-life balance for more productivity. In fact, he volunteers in the NGO ‘Karl Vella Foundation’ where he helps children whose family members have cancer, practises sports such as zip-lining and abseiling, and shows a strong passion for entomology and all aquatic ecology.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Cultural tolerance is a must: “No sir, I’m not inferior!”

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Entrepreneur India Convention 2016: Bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Startups and SMEs

Gains by Abyei interim force can help advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief says

How public private partnerships must evolve to create social impact

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

The results of Finland’s basic income experiment are in. Is it working?

COVID-19: Managing Our Mental Health

Human rights in Brussels and in Beijing: a more balanced approach needed

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

To what extent can renewable energy empower women in rural communities?

Phone lines open between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and people are calling strangers

After John Lewis: 21 civil rights leaders who are shaping America

EU Border and Coast Guard: new corps of 10 000 border and coast guards by 2027

IMF: World cup and productivity

MEPs call for EU Magnitsky Act to impose sanctions on human rights abusers

Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to further expand State aid Temporary Framework to recapitalisation measures

What will higher education in Africa look like after COVID-19?

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

At UN, France’s Macron says more ‘political courage’ is needed to face global challenges

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

South African women’s fury at gender-based attacks spills onto the streets

Khashoggi case highlights ‘very worrying practice’ of overseas abductions, says UN expert

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

These 4 trends are shaping the future of your job

The Catcher in the Rice

Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

These technologies are playing a major role at the Cricket World Cup

Yemen: Escalation in fighting must stop ‘before it’s too late’, Griffiths tells Security Council

EU’s unsparing question to UK: now what kind of future relations do you want?

EU continues targeting on Chinese steel imports instead of the revival of its own economy

Coronavirus: Pandemic alert should be trigger for countries to do more against COVID-19

Respect people’s peaceful assembly and fair trail rights, UN human rights wing urges Nicaragua

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of higher education

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

Economic Outlook: Weak trade and investment threaten long-term growth

The company of the future must do well by doing good

Finance for SMEs: Alternative supply mechanisms do exist

Bill Gates: How HIV/AIDS prepared us to tackle COVID-19

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

We should look to nature for solutions to the global water crisis. Here’s why

Children suffering ‘atrocities’ as number of countries in conflict hits new peak: UNICEF

France v Croatia: How the World Cup finalists stack up off the pitch

We must stop choking the ocean with plastic waste. Here’s how

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

Intervene, don’t overthink – the new mantra of systems design

In tech-driven 21st century, achieving global development goals requires closing digital gender divide

How to create responsible supply chains in the age of globalization 4.0

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

Matthias in Canada

It’s time to gang up: a personal conflict on discrepancies in the medical community

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s