Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th to mark the anniversary of the World Health Organization being founded. This is a great opportunity every year to advise and educate the population on different health topics. This year’s topic is depression. Depression is common not only in the general population but in the medical field as well. As a medical student, I see it every day among my peers, and even sometimes in myself. With the amount of information coming at us in such a short time, medical school can be overwhelming. And when you don’t score as well on your exams as you’d like, it can lead to focusing more on your shortcomings rather than the bigger picture. Also, being away from close family/friends in such a stressful environment can lead to depressed feelings and moods.
Depression is an overlooked topic in society today because most people don’t really understand it. A definition from the World Health Organization defines depression as “a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest/pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep/appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.” It’s important to recognize signs of depression early on, so we can work to overcome it.
Instead of isolating yourself, try to talk with a good friend or a parent about how you’re feeling. I know for me personally, when I am feeling depressed, talking with my best friend almost always makes me feel better instantly. Social support is essential to recover from depression. Another tip is to do something that you love. Take a day to hang out with friends, go for a walk with your dog, or treat yourself to a spa day. Engage in a hobby that you haven’t done in awhile. Practicing relaxation techniques can also help improve mood, such as yoga, taking a nap, or meditation. One of the most powerful tips to overcoming depression is to change your mindset. Instead of focusing on your failures, think about all you’ve accomplished and be proud of what you have done. Focus on the positives and what you love most about yourself.
What are some ways you overcome feelings of depression while in medical school?