Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Personal View

It’s my time to change

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 05 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3156
  1. Samir Dawlatly, year 2 general practice trainee, Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  1. sdawlatly{at}

    In January 2009 the national “Time to Change” campaign was launched (BMJ 2009;338:b309, doi:10.1136/bmj.b309). Aimed at ending discrimination against people with mental health problems, it calls on doctors to support such patients who may have been discriminated against. The campaign states that 1 in 10 people you work with has a mental illness. I am certain that less than a tenth of my colleagues know about my own severe enduring mental illness. In fact it is such a guarded secret (until now) that I instructed my GP not to link my summary care record to the “spine,” the national system for making data available to NHS organisations. My fear was that other colleagues and potential employers could find out about my diagnosis. Perhaps I’m being paranoid, perhaps not—but that’s an argument for another day.

    However, how can I encourage my patients to be open about their mental health problems and support them in any battles against discrimination if I am not also as open? Surely I would be a hypocrite? Currently the only people …

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