Medical student awarded Centre for Affective Disorders Award for Outstanding Academic Performance
Now in his eighth year of studying at King’s, Mohammed Bashar has completed his undergraduate in Physiotherapy, is in his fourth year of the Medicine MBBS Programme, and earlier this year completed his MSc in Affective Disorders for which he was awarded the Centre for Affective Disorders Award for Outstanding Academic Performance.
Speaking of his time at King’s, Mohammed said: When I first joined King’s in 2009, I was enrolled in Physiotherapy BSc because of my interest in fitness. I was never interested in being a doctor, so it’s funny how things change, he laughed.
During my physiotherapy training I became more and more interested in medicine. I was doing hospital placements and most of my friends were studying medicine so I was really exposed to it. I started seeing how being patient centered was at the core and physiotherapy really taught me a lot about putting the patient at the centre of their care and how to communicate effectively.
In my third year I applied for the King’s Medicine MBBS Programme. Through medicine I started becoming more and more interested in psychiatry and mental health so I took a year out to do my Masters in Affective Disorders.
It’s funny how it all came about. When I started at King’s I was focused on the body, now the mind, but what I’ve really learnt through all of it, is that you need to treat the person as a whole and look at how everything is linked.
Mohammed completed the MSc in Affective Disorders that is offered by King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. The Masters is the first of its kind in the world.
When I enrolled I thought it was pretty cool that we would be the first cohort to graduate out of the MSc in Affective Disorders not just at King’s, but anywhere in the world.
Now finding out that I’ve received the Centre for Affective Disorders Award for Outstanding Academic Performance, I’m just blown away. I haven’t quite digested it yet, I’m still in at state of shock.
During his time at King’s, Mohammed has made a significant impact to the welfare of students, in particular through mental health, and was awarded the King's Interdisciplinary Award: A Beautiful Mind last year. He also founded the Islamic Societies’ Welfare Project because of his belief that a problem shared is a problem halved.
I think the most powerful tools to destigmatise mental health and to reduce self-stigma are autobiographical narratives—using our experiences to help others is part of our recovery process.
When I enrolled in medicine I had to self-pay my tuition fees and living costs. I went from my physiotherapy studies to working the summer to save money to starting in the MBBS programme. During the summer I worked nights for four months with only eight nights off. So while I saved a lot I was exhausted before I started.
Coming into the January mid-sessionals, I felt mentally exhausted and incredibly behind with my studies, however, I was able to get 76% which gave me the confidence that I could do well. This experience was pivotal to the launch of the Welfare Project and trying to help others through sharing my experience.
Launching in March 2014, the Welfare Project has three main aims:
- to be a point of contact for students in need
- raise awareness of mental health issues, and
- destigmatise mental health.
The Welfare Project is about having someone to talk to when you need to. Sometimes people just need a listening ear, rather than professional help. It’s all about sharing a problem and the project has been really successful.
If it didn’t happen to me, I might not have been so forth coming in sharing my experience, meeting new students and starting the Welfare Project. I believe in hindsight, everything is a blessing in disguise.
We congratulate Mohammed on all of his achievements and the impact he is making at King’s, in particular breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness. He is currently Co-President of ThinkMental Society tackling mental health stigma on a wider scale.