For some time now I’ve been thinking about how no one carters to the mental health of medical professionals in particular and I think that fact in itself is quite alarming. How is that we trust our lives and that of our loved ones with people that we’re not even sure are okay mentally? We’ve seen doctors breakdown, die on the job, commit suicide, go through drug and substance abuse and addictions. It is sad that those that save lives don’t take the best care of themselves.
Doctors, doctors in training and people in healthcare go through a massive amount of stress daily. The hours are long, self esteem and self dignity are always on the line in the midst of superiors, you’re always preparing for one exam or the other, the community expects complete solidarity, the kind that makes you diagnose and give prescriptions on the road and sometimes you don’t even get paid your full wages by the government. It can be hard and frustrating. A consultant once told us that to do the things that doctors do, you must achieve some degree of sub-humanity. That is you have to sacrifice some of your humanity to be able to be the type of person that saves lives. This often means becoming a person that is apathetic, hard, obnoxious and socially awkward. We only feel like we truly belong when we are in the company of other doctors or health professionals because we feel they are the only ones that understand us and will excuse our misbehaviours. It’s often said that to be a good doctor you don’t have to be a good human being, but how true is that in the real sense of things?
These are the general beliefs, especially here in Nigeria. I believe this is not only wrong, but also something we need go to war against because whether or not we choose to believe it, a caregiver’s mental state reflects on the quality of care they provide. I’m prepared to dedicate my entire life to fighting this war and ensuring doctors are fine mentally. It seems like such a huge problem and quite frankly I do not have all the answers but I’m choosing to start where I can which is why I am launch this thing called MEDIFY; an organization committed to edifying medics (get the name?). I know that it will evolve into many things in the future and will serve in various capacities to ensure that we have mentally healthy medical professionals in this country Nigeria and then the world at large. Like I said I’m starting with what I have which includes writing and launching a weekly newsletter that will inspire and encourage medics everywhere. I will do that till I figure out more ways to help.
I’ll spell out our mission and vision statement below, so you know we mean business.
Motto: building mentally healthy medics.
Vision: that every medical professional across Nigeria and beyond maintains mental and emotional wellness and can thereby live deeply fulfilling lives, as a result providing the best possible care to their patients.
Mission: to edify and equip medical professionals and students with needed information, inspiration, motivation, encouragement and community to foster mental and emotional wellness through various evolving means of mental health awareness, growth and betterment.