Mental health is an ongoing global discussion in medicine. As medical students, we are prone to anxiety, depression, and the feeling of not being good enough in this highly competitive field. Hours of studying, trying to balance family, friends, and school obligations can weigh heavily on the psyche.
In 2017, a meta-analysis of 59 studies was conducted on Brazilian medical students to assess the prevalence of mental health problems. The study indicated that mental health problems express in various ways. Routinely, this may result in low-quality sleep, problematic alcohol usage, and excessive daytime sleepiness. The study concluded that to promote mental health in the students, there needed to be interventions and psychosocial support. This study was conducted based on Brazilain medical students, but these findings may apply to medical students all over the world.
Although it is not uncommon to be overly tired or have one too many drinks, these are signs that need consideration. How is this affecting your mental health? Now, on the other hand, to win the battle of mental health takes learning. The industry needs to come in to create a more open forum for medical students to feel comfortable in discussing and learning about mental health. So that we, as medical students, can perform at our best.
Some ways to address talking about mental health are starting a group of small students mediated by a counselor. This may encourage discussion and realization that other medical students are indeed going through the same levels of stress. Another way we can tackle this topic is by creating more mentor-mentee mentee programs. Programs like this can help upcoming student doctors get in contact with residents and physicians to see how they cope with their mental health. Together we can combat mental health in medical students and bring more of a conversation on how to value and appreciate mental health. Before you can take care of others, you must be able to take care of yourself.
Pacheco JP, Giacomin HT, Tam WW, et al. Mental health problems among medical students in Brazil: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Braz J Psychiatry. 2017;39(4):369-378. doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2017-2223