There is an ever-growing library of evidence that proves that medical students experience higher levels of stress than other students and as a result of this and a lack of training on stress management and resilience in their roles, are more likely to suffer from stress-related illnesses such as depression, anxiety and burnout.
Professional help can be paramount when seeking treatment for any of these factors or outcomes, but one of the simpler things you can do for your own future wellbeing is to forge a strong relationship with a GP of your own. Often, when beginning study, you will do so in a place unfamiliar to you, away from your usual support network of friends and family. Enlisting a GP can help provide some guidance and constant support as well as an opportunity to learn by association.
In a study conducted by Beyond Blue on medical student and doctors’ mental health, some of the adverse effects and statistics found included:
- 43 per cent of medical students can experience minor psychological disorders
- 52.3 per cent of medical students experience emotional exhaustion
- 19.2 per cent of medical students can experience suicidal thoughts
- 10.4 per cent of doctors aged 30 and under have been diagnosed with depression
Beyond the fact that having a GP will help you with your overall health and wellbeing, they will also be able to assist with stressful situations and provide support and education on how to manage and deal with your stress to ensure it doesn’t end up destroying your passion and drive for the profession.
For all of us, our mental health and wellbeing is important, but as a member of a community for whom stress can have an increased effect when compared with other students, it is vital that you set yourself up to succeed in this situation. Getting a GP is one of many proactive ways you can continue on a healthy, happy path to your goal.
1. “Painting the picture: Australasian medical student views on wellbeing teaching and support services“James M Hillis, William R G Perry, Emily Y Carroll, Belinda A Hibble, Marion J Davies and Justin Yousef for The Medical Journal of Australia. 07 September 2009.