Dr Zainib Khan of BBC One’s Race Across the World shares important message ahead of World Mental Health Day 2023

Ahead of World Mental Health Day 2023 (10 October), Dr Zainib shares what it’s like to work for a mental health inpatient unit, her own experience of a mental health diagnosis, what she learned from her experience on the show, and her advice to anyone struggling with their mental health.

Dr Zainib Khan is a Trainee Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH). She took part in series three of BBC 1’s Race Across the World alongside her husband, which aired this year.

Dr Zanib currently works at GMMH’s Lowry unit, part of the Trust’s adult forensic services, which is a low secure service for adult men who have usually been through the judicial system and need a period of rehabilitation for their mental health.

Dr Zainib knew she wanted to work in mental health early on into her medical training. 

I decided that psychiatry was the speciality for me when I was in med school, which is quite early on. I did my psychiatry placement and I remember seeing the consultants and how compassionate and involved they were with their patients, and I just thought that’s the type of doctor I wanted to be. I wanted to really know my patients and to help them from a genuine place of concern. That was the main thing me, but another part of it was that I, like many other people, have personal experience of mental health issues. I have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, and this affected me very early on in life. I never really understood it, and I was always ashamed of what it was because I thought it was some weird anomaly that was wrong with me. But as I grew to understand that this is a medical condition that can be treated, managed, and controlled, I felt passionate about learning how not to feel so isolated and alone again. And not only for myself, but to be able to help other people to feel the same way, whatever it is that they’re going through.

In the run up to World Mental Health Day 2023, Dr Zainib also shares important advice to those who may be struggling.

If you feel that you are struggling with your mental health, the most important thing that helped me was telling somebody. These things can make you feel so lonely, and can compound upon your mental health worsening; and it’s in sharing our problems that we feel we’re not so isolated. So speak to somebody, whether that’s a family member, a friend, or a colleague, because it will really help – that’s certainly what helped me.

You can read more on the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s website

Crisis helplines

If you feel you need mental health support please contact one of these 24/7 helplines – they’re available to anyone of any age

  •  Bolton, Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Wigan: 0800 953 0285 (freephone)
  •  Bury, Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Tameside & Glossop: 0800 014 9995 (freephone)

If there’s an immediate risk of danger to life, you should ring 999

Photo of Dr Zainib Khan