Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Depressed medical students

The study also revealed more than two-thirds of respondents would "feel ashamed" about their depression and 62 per cent would not tell anyone if they were diagnosed.

That's sad, especially since they are training to be doctors. Not a healthy response at all. The article sites heavy workloads as one of the reasons for creating depression since the students have no work /life balance. It is something which is part of our lifestyle and we have to change it. Everyone is under enormous pressure to succeed, perform and keep on performing. Medical students would be in the situation where they are trying to learn difficult and complicated material as well as practise it. At least Flinders University has brought it into the open and is investigating it.Is it something which affects the medical profession and we just haven't heard about it before or is it new? Students who take on medicine are usually very high achievers and performers and perhaps it is hard for them to realise they have so much to learn and then perform and so they are caught up in the perfection model. Are they having to cram too much learning into short terms at uni? Is there too much of an expectation on them to be good before they have learned the ropes? Do they have mentors? Can they get away from it all? If our new doctors have no practical ways of dealing with depression then they will not be able to help patients who suffer the illness. Experience is the best teacher and so many people do not really understand mental illness and covering up or pretending it is not there is a classic response. We need some enlightenment in our medical practitioners of the future and they need to be helped to navigate their way through this so they do not implode. They may not actually understand the reasons for their depression and may say fatigue when it might be something else. Fatigue is acceptable. fear of failure, feeling inadequate, fear of what you have to do are all things you might want to hide. I am glad this is in the open where we can deal with it.

No comments: