The Louise Tebboth Foundation (LTF) is delighted to be able to announce the award of its first significant grant to promote the mental well-being of doctors. The Foundation, working in conjunction with the NHS Practitioner Health Programme and NHS GP Health Service, has agreed to provide £10,000 over two years to support the establishment and ongoing activities of the new NHS Practitioner Volunteer and User Voices Network.
The Network will bring doctors at varying stages of recovery from mental illness and addiction together with service providers, commissioners and charitable organisations in order to give voice to the experiences of the practitioner-patients, enable them to help shape the development of support services, raise awareness of the key issues affecting the management, support and processes for doctors who become unwell and to explore the gaps in service provision and barriers to seeking help.
Dr Clare Gerada, Medical Director of the Practitioner Health Programme, welcomed news of the award, saying “The Foundation’s generous and significant contribution to support the Volunteer Network is greatly appreciated and we look forward to working closely with the LTF to progress this very important work improving the experience of doctors with mental health and addiction issues.”
Gary Marson, who founded the LTF in memory of his wife, Louise Tebboth, a London GP who died by suicide in 2015 at the age of 40, commented “I’m absolutely thrilled that after three years hard work establishing the charity we are now in a position to begin to be able to make a positive contribution to the mental wellbeing of medical practitioners. Sadly levels of suicide within the medical profession remain stubbornly high and if we can help in saving the life of even just one doctor it will serve as a wonderful and practical memorial to my amazing wife Louise, enabling her to continue even now to do what she always wanted more than anything else – to help others in need. I would like to thank everybody who has helped us to reach this point for their generous support, not least the friends and family of Joe Kaczmarczyk, a 28-year-old doctor in Manchester who took his life in November 2016.”
WANTED – Volunteers to walk on behalf of the LTF on the Walking out of Darkness events over the course of the coming months. CLASP (Counselling, Life Advice and Suicide Prevention) is organising 10 mile walks in seven locations around England between May and October (London, Nottingham, York, Brighton, Bristol, Norwich and Birmingham). We would love to see supporters of the LTF well represented at each of the events – its a great chance to promote awareness both of the charity and suicide prevention generally while enjoying a walk in some lovely locations. Do please let us know if you intend to take part and raise funds in sponsorship for the LTF! You can find more details of the walks on the link below. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/walking-out-of-darkness-2018…
A huge thank you to everybody at The Village Osteopathy in Timperley, Cheshire for their fantastic fund raising efforts. A recent charity day at the clinic, which included bake sales and raffles, raised an amazing £645 in aid of the LTF. Appropriately the day had a health and wellbeing theme with practitioners on hand to offer guidance and advice. The event was staged in honour of a good friend of the clinic, Dr Joseph Kaczmarczyk, who sadly lost his life in November 2016.
We are delighted to announce that Professor David Haslam CBE, Chair of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and formerly President and chair of the RCGP, and President of the BMA, has agreed to become a Patron of the LTF, joining Baroness Ilora Finlay of Llandaff in the role.
Professor Haslam, in supporting the objectives of The LTF, said
“Risk factors in medicine should always be taken seriously. High blood pressure carries an increased risk of stroke, and the healthcare professions go out of their way to address it. Being a smoker is the single greatest preventable risk factor of all, and tackling smoking is taken very seriously. And being a doctor increases the risk of stress, of depression, of suicide. Like any risk factor, we need to take it seriously. We need to understand, to listen, to care. We need to understand why colleagues may be reluctant to seek help. Why do we have to be so perfect?
Suicide is always – but always – a tragedy. More than anything, it is a tragedy for the individual concerned, but it is tragic for family, friends, colleagues, and patients. A profession that dedicates itself to caring for others is often remarkably poor at caring for itself. It shouldn’t be seen as being brave for a doctor to admit to being depressed. It should simply be seen as being honest, and a trigger for action.”
A huge thanks to Ela Stachow who is taking part in the City to Summit Challenge in Scotland on 2nd July to raise funds for the LTF – if we tell you that it involves a 13.1 mile run through Edinburgh followed by a 112 mile cycle to Ben Nevis and then a 26.2 mile run to the summit of Ben Nevis we think you’ll agree that she deserves our support! You can sponsor her here:
Would you like to raise funds for doctors at risk of suicide and help confront the stigma of mental ill health? The annual CLASP Walking out of Darkness 10 mile walks take place in Birmingham on 6th May, London on 13th May and Weston Super Mare on 24th June and we would love to be well represented at each event. Details of how to book your place on the walk can be found on the link below and you can easily set up a fundraising page for the LTF on the Every Click website.
We are delighted to be able to confirm that Baroness Finlay of Llandaff has kindly agreed to become the Patron of the LTF. Baroness Finlay is a past president of the Royal Society of Medicine and a professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine.
She was made a life peer in 2001 and sits in the House of Lords as an independent crossbencher.
Baroness Finlay speaking at the LTF’s launch event in October 2016
Baroness Finlay speaks at the launch event
We’re proud to have officially launched the LTF with an event hosted by the Royal College of GPs on 19th October.
More than 50 guests were in attendance including leading figures from the medical world such as Dr Terry Kemple, President of the RCGP, David Wrigley, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association and Sir Sam Everington, Chair of Tower Hamlets CCG, as well as representatives of doctors support groups and charities including Debbie Kerslake, Chief Executive of Cruse and Anne Culley, Chair of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. Members of Louise Tebboth’s family were also present.
Guests heard speeches from Rev Dr Malcolm Torry, Chair of the LTF, Gary Marson, Louise’s husband and the founder of the charity, Lucy Warner, Chief Executive of the Practitioners Health Programme and Baroness Ilora Finlay,Professor of Palliative Medicine and past President of the Royal Society of Medicine. You can watch the highlights on the links below.
Watch the Rev Dr Malcolm Torry’s opening remarks
Watch Gary Marson reflect on the suicide of his GP wife, Louise
Watch Baroness Finlay on the stigma faced by doctors with mental illness
Watch Lucy Warner on the new mental health service for GPs
Lucy Warner, Chief Executive of PHP, addresses the launch event
Gary Marson, Louise’s husband presents a copy of his book ‘Just Carry on Breathing’ to Debbie Kerslake, Chief Executive of Cruse
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We’re delighted to announce a new collaborative link between the LTF and the Doctors Support Network.
The DSN is a fully confidential, friendly peer support group for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns including stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychoses and eating disorders.
You can find out more about the DSN here.