A young Brighton doctor is setting off on a 19,000 mile bike trip this Saturday (February 9) to raise money for the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and Mind.
Michael Nally, known as ‘Dr Mike’, said he wants to raise awareness of the pressure and mental health issues faced by many doctors in the medical profession.
Dr Mike, 26, said: “It’s an issue people don’t know about, family and friends think surely doctors can treat themselves, doctors aren’t impervious to suffering themselves.”
Every day we are making decisions that will affect people for the rest of their lives. You internalise that, there’s still not the support there should be.”
The junior ENT doctor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital made the decision to cycle for charity after hearing about the tragedy of Sophie Spooner, a paediatric trainee who took her own life.
Dr Mike said: “She was a colleague of friends, and it had a profound effect on me. There’s definitely a stigma around getting help in the profession, people will think I’m weak if I ask for help, that kind of culture.”
In a 2019 TEDx talk, Dr Zeshan Qureshi talks of the depression, anxiety, burnout and PTSD experienced by doctors, and the drug and alcohol dependency.
Dr Qureshi said: “The rate of suicide [in the medical profession] is double that of the rest of the general population.”
Dr Mike has spoken about the guilt he feels for not doing more to raise awareness, I’m never going to be a politician but this is something I can do he said.
His route will officially start at Buckingham Palace, coming through Brighton for a farewell with friends before the ferry at Newhaven takes him to the first of 22 countries.
He said: “I’ll be on a big green bike with orange panniers. I’ve got Irish roots, so I’ve gone with the orange and green.”
“I’ve got the first night booked in Paris but that’s it. I’m a bit worried about crossing from India into Myanmar, but I’m also super excited.
“I want to be a champion for the medical profession.”