January 10, 2021

Breaking the Mental Health Stigma

 In our most recent podcast episode, we had the pleasure of speaking to 4th year medical student Tash Binnie, who is known as ‘tash_themedic’ on Instagram. Here, she has over 11,000 followers and has gained immense popularity for her candid posts about her experiences with mental health, where she strives to destroy the stigma and taboo surrounding these discussions.


Mental health amongst health professionals and medical students, is a topic that is often overlooked. As Tash rightfully points out in this episode, this is often due to the misinformation surrounding the GMC and the unrealistic expectation that we should just ‘get on with it’ and keep our problems buried. It will thus come of no surprise, that in a meta-analysis, 27.2% of medical students reported suffering with depression and 25.7% suffered from anxiety. (1)


So, why are these figures so high within the medical profession? Over 50% of junior doctors complain of feelings of burnout, due to the demands of the job and pressure placed upon these newly qualified, often extremely under-confident individuals. This is a question we discussed with Tash, who addressed some of the difficulties she has faced during difficult patient encounters. She speaks candidly about the sensitive nature of many discussions she has had with patients, finding herself fighting many of the same battles as those she had discussed just a few hours earlier. Yet, with many medical students being only 19-20 years of age, why are you expected to be able to deal with these difficult conversations? Tash suggests that there should be a concerted effort to incorporate better support for students progressing through medical school, to help them cope with these difficult topics.


Perhaps one of the reasons the incidence of mental health issues is so high throughout medical school, is due to the worry of being struck off by the GMC, following disclosure of a mental health condition. This is something that many students have misconceptions about, as discussed in this podcast.


So, what sort of resources are available to these suffering with a mental health condition? Tash talks about one that has helped her in particular, called the Listening Place. Run by a group of volunteers based in London, it offers people a safe space to talk about their feelings. Tash also points out that speaking to friends, family and a GP are really positive steps to take when you feel like you are struggling – you are never alone.


We hope you enjoyed tuning in to this podcast episode. If you haven’t already, this can be found on Spotify, Apple music and on our brand new website!


Thank you so much to Tash for joining us for this episode and offering an insight into her own experience with regards to mental health. Make sure to check her out on her social media platforms: