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We must be vigilant on GP mental health

I think Dr Simon Atkins is very brave to have confronted his problems and to share them with us.

The culture of getting on with it and showing no weakness in medicine is extremely damaging and can contribute to the worsening of psychological problems.

Do not forget that we, as doctors, have higher rates of depression, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide than the general population. We should be particularly aware of the potential for the development of mental health problems and take active steps to address these as they arise.

The stigma of mental illness in society is strong, and I am ashamed that our profession contributes to this to some extent. This must stop.

If there were less stigma attached to mental illness then Dr Atkins might have found it easier to manage his problems without feelings of guilt, inadequacy and so on - providing he had some insight. Are future doctors routinely being lectured on self-awareness of mental illness?

Well done, Dr Atkins, and I wish you all the best in your future career and hope that you continue to feel supported.

Dr Christopher Hughes, Brighton

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