Depression a problem for medical students

tran-nguyenMedical students are more likely to experience depression than the general population and perceive there is a stigma attached to mental illness – a new study shows.

The preliminary findings of Depression in Medical Students: Prevalence and Perception, a survey of more than 1000 medical students at four Australian universities, were presented at the 2009 Asian Medical Students’ Conference (ASMC) in Taiwan that focused on stigmatised illness.

Lead researcher Tran Nguyen [pictured], a fourth-year medical student at Flinders University, said the aim of the study was to gain some understanding of how depression affects medical students.

“International studies have consistently reported a higher prevalence of depression among medical students than the general population, and our study reflects these results,” Ms Nguyen said.

“We found that of the medical students surveyed only 40 per cent accurately identified the chance of themselves or someone close to them experiencing depression,” she said.

“However, more than 56 per cent correctly estimated that one in five people in the general population will experience depression at some point in their life.”

The study also examined medical students’ attitudes to mental illness.

“Depression is a serious mental health condition and stigma is still a major factor in preventing people from seeking help,” Ms Nguyen said.

“Male students reported higher perceived stigmatisation than female students, in particular, thinking that people would talk badly about them.

“This was also the case with students who had completed psychiatry subjects.”

While the researchers did not examine the causes of depression among medical students, they believe consistently high levels of stress would be a major factor.

“Additionally, as medical students and future practitioners, we have the tendency to care for patients first and sometimes neglect our own health,” Ms Nguyen said.

“We hope that our study will highlight the need for more awareness programs in medical schools to promote a better understanding of mental illness among medical students.

“We’d also like to encourage those students who are afflicted by depression to open up and speak about their mental health with another medical professional.”

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0 thoughts on “Depression a problem for medical students

  1. Very informative post!

    I would rather say that consistently high levels of stress is a major factor for causing depression and mental illness among medical students.

    To avoid those unwanted things one needs get better medical simulation practice which can availed at Simulation Medical Simulation Medical as it is providing training kits for the medical students which are designed by Doctors, nurses and educators. Its accessible to every student, to practice where they want, when they want, and as much as they need until they feel confident. It is both highly realistic and affordable. It Includes award winning interactive tutorial software – it’s like having your own private clinical tutor with you every step of the way.

  2. Thank you Bert. I am interested in your recommendation. I wish I knew about this simulation program so that I could have shared it at the recent Mental Health Seminar.

  3. Most people suffering from bouts of depression, anxiety and general mood disorders that greatly affect their quality of life don’t even know that they have non-prescription options to treat their depression effectively.

    Instead, most people will either “bite the bullet” through the rough times, or they will seek the advice of a professional such as a phychiatrist or psychologist, and perhaps go through counseling, or be put on a prescription antidepressant such as Zoloft or Prozac. Did you know that antidepressants are currently the third leading classification of prescription drugs by overall revenue and profitability?

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