Shruti's Tree: listen to our interview with writer Adam Kay and Doctors in Distress founder Amandeep Sidhu | Latest news

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Shruti's tree

Shruti's Tree: listen to our interview with writer Adam Kay and Doctors in Distress founder Amandeep Sidhu

Transcript

Presenter: On Thursday, 4 August, a memorial tree was planted at Ealing Hospital for health care professionals who have taken their own lives.

The idea came from writer Adam Kay, who helped plant the tree. Adam is the writer behind This is Going To Hurt, a BBC series about his time as a trainee doctor in Ealing Hospital.

"You don't have to go through it alone"

Adam: I'm here at Ealing Hospital, to be part of a tree planting ceremony of what's being called Shruti's tree.

And it's to commemorate health care professionals who've taken their own lives.

I wrote a book that turned into a TV show called This Is Going To Hurt.

And we shot a lot of the show at Ealing Hospital here. There's a scene near the end where a junior doctor takes her life and there's a memorial tree planted in the show.

And people got in touch saying they looked for the tree and couldn't find it. And then said, "oh, I felt silly even looking for it of course it wouldn't be there." And I realized it's not silly in the slightest. There should be a memorial.

I'm so grateful to Pippa, the chief executive here, and everyone at Ealing Hospital, who's made this a reality, because I think it's much needed and very important.

I was here as a student and I've always lived in west London, so I've even been a patient at Ealing Hospital... and looks exactly the same as it ever has, for better or worse.

The most important thing is it's still full of thousands of hardworking, caring staff.

My message to any anyone who's struggling, whatever their profession is that you don't have to go through it alone.

I think in the health care professions, there's a lot of stigma about getting help and that there shouldn't be, there needn't be, there mustn't be, and there is help available.

And you're not going to be judged for getting that help.

Presenter: Joining Adam was Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, and representatives of mental health charities.

For Amandeep Sidhu, founder of the charity Doctors in Distress, Shruti's tree is particularly poignant.

"We have a role to play in looking after those that look after us"

Amandeep: In November 2018, I lost my older brother, Dr. Jagdip Sidhu to suicide.

He was a consultant cardiologist based in Dartford Kent, but he actually started his career here at Ealing.

He had a very, very long and distinguished career. 

But due to workplace pressures and a lot of things that we see among doctors and all health care workers, he found himself in very much of a difficult situation and undoubtedly his mental health probably suffered.

He hid it very, very well and then came to the point where he probably reached a crisis and decided to take his own life.

And at that point, I took a real interest in doctors' and healthcare workers' health and wellbeing, and so I started the charity to raise awareness of issues like those.

I really hope that us as members of the general public who are not healthcare workers, see ourselves as having a role to play in looking after those that look after us.

I would say to anyone that feels that they're struggling to find the right avenue to talk about what you're going through.

Doctors in Distress could be a potential way to do that, but there are lots of ways to find safe, confidential and independent spaces where you can just reach out.

Everything starts with a conversation.

Please don't bottle it up.

So it's perfectly fine to say I'm not okay. I need help.

And that's the first step in seeking the help that you need.

So don't fear any shame. Don't have any shame.

And don't fear any retribution for doing that.

Presenter: Shruti's Tree was funded thanks to LNWH Charity.

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