A MEMORIAL tree has been planted at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI)  in memory of all healthcare workers in the city and across the country who have taken their own lives.

The memorial tree – which will be the first in Yorkshire – was planted at Bradford Royal Infirmary at a ceremony attended by Professor Mel Pickup, chief executive of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which oversees the running of BRI, St Luke’s Hospital, and the district’s community hospitals

The National Memorial Tree Campaign, led by the mental health charity Doctors in Distress and in association with their patron, BAFTA winner and former NHS doctor Adam Kay, honours the memory of healthcare professionals and highlights the hospital’s commitment to protecting mental health and wellbeing of its staff.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Statistics show that in the UK, one doctor takes their own life every three weeks, and one nurse takes their own life every week.

Ann Paul, Doctors in Distress’ chief executive, said: “We would like every hospital trust in the country to support our National Memorial Tree Campaign and plant a memorial tree, which will highlight their commitment to protecting the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

“Together we can help to break down the stigma around mental health and help to prevent further suicides.”

Prof Pickup added: “During our professional lives in the NHS many of us will have been touched and affected by such tragedies like the suicides and sudden deaths of our colleagues.

“The mental health of our colleagues is vitally important – especially as we move forward now, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – so only by beginning to acknowledge our own mental health, can we start to address the factors that lead to suicide among our colleagues.

“We know that colleagues are under severe stress and pressure every day so it’s vital that we do all we can to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our staff as any of us could be affected at any time. Nobody is immune, and we all need protection.”

Adam Kay added: "The first step in solving a problem must be in admitting that the problem exists, and this is something I tried to highlight in the BBC adaptation of my book, ’This is Going to Hurt.’

“The series culminated in the death by suicide of a doctor called Shruti - a fictional character based on so many tragic stories.

“In the show, a tree was planted in her memorial, which has led to trees being planted in real-life hospitals to commemorate lost colleagues.

"I'm very proud to support Doctors in Distress in raising awareness of this vital issue and protecting the mental health of healthcare workers." 

The memorial tree is located beside Prospect Cottage, where the Trust’s Spiritual, Pastoral, and Religious Care team is based, and the Trust’s Listening for Life Centre, where the hospital hopes to establish its Reflective Garden.