From emergency room to newsroom: Doctor uses Breaking into News competition to shine a spotlight on mental health

Posted 24 July 2019

For our ITV Wales finalist, Iain McGibbon, the Breaking into News programme has enabled him to give a platform to an issue close to his heart: the mental health of health care workers. He shares an open and honest account of his own personal experience.

As a fully qualified medical doctor, I have significant experience and interest of mental health, both personally and as a practitioner. Hoping to specialise in psychiatry, it was with a cruel irony that I went on to suffer mental illness myself. My recovery is going extremely well, through a continuing programme of diet and exercise, involvement in drama, sport and music, actively engaged in mindfulness and meditation, and also voluntary work, including with the charity MIND.

I entered Breaking into News because I am constantly searching for different ways in which I can use my diverse set of skills gained from training to become a doctor. Journalism is a way of using these skills. I also saw it as an opportunity to enhance my recovery further. I was keen to see, not only what doors would be opened for me in entering the competition but also, to give a platform to highlight important issues which I felt needed to be heard.

The stigma of speaking out

My news piece concerns the mental health of medical practitioners. The stress of the job often leads to breakdown however, there is still a huge stigma attached to doctors speaking out about their own mental health issues.

There is still a huge stigma attached to doctors speaking out about their own mental health issues.

In my report, I also speak to another doctor who runs mindfulness workshops in North Wales. He suffered from depression, and had to face the stigma, but also found a means of recovery. We both believe it is vitally important that we should be taught how to look after ourselves and learn strategies so that we can remain healthy. It’s in all our interests that the NHS can provide better services by keeping doctors healthy: it would mean reduced staff shortage, absenteeism and waiting lists, all particularly prevalent in North Wales but also a national problem.

I think it is a privilege to be on the scheme. To be selected as one in 10 finalists, and to representative for ITV Wales is a huge honour. I have been thrilled with the experience from start to finish, the research, filming the piece, and editing it were all thoroughly enjoyable and challenging.

Tahmeena and Iain sitting together

Iain with his mentor Tahmeena Alam, a journalist at ITV Wales and a former Breaking into News finalists herself.

The support of my mentor

My mentor was invaluable throughout the entire process, helping ease any anxiety (which was only natural for a novice such as myself). She was particularly helpful to me in the editing suite, able to turn a significant amount of raw material into a cohesive and flowing report. The process has also been extremely useful in furthering my recovery, helping with anxiety, self-esteem and self-confidence; interviewing others was really beneficial in this respect.

I am passionate about helping those with mental health issues to realise that a bright and fulfilling future is possible, one which can be healthy both physically and mentally. I am looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of having my story and message heard. I hope that entering this competition, run in partnership with ITV and Media Trust, is just the start of this new venture.

 

About Breaking into News: Media Trust’s Annual Breaking into News competition and mentoring programme, run in partnership with ITV News, gives 10 aspiring journalists from across the UK the chance to create their own news report with the support of their very own ITV regional news team.

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