As many of you know, medical school is a very tough time in our lives. It is full of discouragement and disappointment, as well as rewards and huge accomplishments. Many times, we compromise our mental health to succeed. I was reading a news article on depression in medical students that stated “27% of medical students around the world exhibit depression.” That’s about 1 in 4 students who experience this. With the stigma of mental health and depression in today’s society, many medical students choose not to seek help because they feel it might lower their chances of being taken seriously as a future physician.
One reason why medical students could be falling into depression is because of the countless sacrifices we are making in exchange for the rate of little rewards and appreciation for our efforts. Students often hear the horror stories of being kicked out of an OR due to one mistake, or being sent home from rotations for answering a question wrong. These types of events can lead to depressive thoughts that undermine one’s efforts and intelligence. Another reason could be that hospitals and clinics often have “quotas” that need to be met; a certain number of patients to be seen in one day, within one hour – this becomes more of a burden for physicians to see patients as numbers, and not as actual patients. This can be discouraging because, as future physicians, we want to treat patients and take our time with patients – but society wants otherwise.
Awareness of the importance of mental health in our future physicians is crucial. It’s important for students to know that it’s okay to feel depressed, and it’s even more okay to get help for it. As future physicians, we want to make sure our mental health is stable so we are able to treat our future physicians as best as we possibly can.