Hi everyone, my name is Aaliyah and I am a Year 12 student at Bolton School. Alongside Hannah, I am one of the Welfare Officers on the VMS committee. I am so excited that you have decided to join Medic Mentor’s VMS and hope that you find this resource useful in supporting each other in our journeys towards becoming the doctors, dentists and vets of the future.
My own aspirations are to become an NHS doctor one day and contribute to medical innovation by leading clinical research and trials which could hopefully change the way medicine is practiced through improvements in the standard of patient care. Of course, I accept that this is no easy feat, and many clinicians in these fields experience psychological or emotional distress due to the intellectual, physical and emotionally demanding nature of medicine in itself. A study by the BMA (British Medical Association) showed that more than 80% of doctors experience burnout or any other mental health complications. From my own experience on the National Citizen Service, where my team and I created a 30 hour project on mental health awareness, I found that many people were uncomfortable with discussing their own wellbeing with others, nor willing to address the issue as a whole. Having mentored GCSE students over the year, I feel as though pupils who experience exam pressure don’t always feel comfortable talking over their worries with others, either because they perceive their problems to be insignificant or that nobody will understand them. But it should never be this way. Not looking after your own wellbeing and allowing stress to build up is not the solution. Instead, finding ways to prioritise your wellbeing now, will make the medical application process, university and life as a medic just as enjoyable and fulfilling as it should be.
I know exactly how overwhelming the workload can feel, but it is so important to find time for yourself and take a step back. Some things I like to do are read books (I have just read ‘Better’ by Atul Gawande, I would definitely recommend it!) and practice Arabic Calligraphy (although I’m not that good at it, I should probably add). Prior to the lockdown, I did Karate thrice a week and as a captain at my school club, I assisted in training students at lower belts, but have now resorted to practicing in my garden and attempting to teach my (unimpressed) siblings.
We want to help make mental health and wellbeing a priority for future medics (like yourself!) working in the NHS, so we can change this stigma together. The only way we can do this is by supporting one another and realising that success depends on striking a balance between work and looking after one’s own welfare.
Hannah and I want to do this by creating resources for all our VMS members to discuss different topics relating to wellbeing, liaising with the VMS committee, organising topics for discussion during meetings and above all, creating an environment in which each and every one of you feel comfortable. Each week, we will be posting blogs on the website to facilitate discussions lead by you guys, where you can share your own experiences (don’t worry – this can be done anonymously), give further advice and also ask questions relating to the topics in discussion, which we will then go through during the VMS meetings on Tuesdays. We would love for you to get involved, so please do comment down below on any of our pages if you have any questions for us or ideas for what we should explore next. Thank you so much, we hope to hear from you soon .
If you would like to post Aaliyah a question, please comment below and she will get back to you!