I know that the topic of mental health has been quite prevalent in the media but I wanted to discuss its relationship to the medical field. The thing is, the topic of mental health is almost taboo in medicine. Medical students, residents, and attendings are resilient. They are the epitome of a superhero, they can’t possibly get sick or feel depressed.
Just recently, one of my upperclassmen who had a terrible cold would not take the day off from clinic to go home and rest because she would just “get over her cold.” Ironic right? We tell our patients to rest, to take care of their bodies, and to maintain a healthy mind but we don’t do the same.
The same attitude parallels mental health illnesses experienced by medical students, residents, and physicians. We feel weak if we confess to feeling vulnerable. We feel defeated if we have to fix our mind. We feel alone because others are working twice as hard and doing just fine. But I hope that as a new generation of providers we disassemble such ideology and stereotypes. We talk about our mind, our fears, and our moments of weakness not to victimize ourselves but to provide an avenue for change. I hope that we take our sicks days, practice self-care, and learn to understand that our health is just as important as our patients’ health.