04 September

No matter what area of study you decide to learn and commit to, your time and life is absorbed. Students are consistently feeling under pressure, and some even face depression. Medical students are no exception when it comes to their years of learning and training.

A study in Student BMJ had recently published the findings that one in seven medical students have thought about committing suicide whilst studying.

They had 1,122 UK based respondents to the poll, which represents around 2% of all medical students in the UK…more than 80% of those with mental health issues felt they got poor or barely adequate support from their medical schools, and around one in seven (almost 15%;167) said that they had considered committing suicide while studying at medical school. [1]

The study also highlighted other attributes of struggle, such as; drinking, smoking and taking drugs. What seemed interesting is that some of them even took ‘smart drugs’ to help with their revision.

This highlights the struggles that all students face when it comes to the pressures of examination. Looking at medical students in particular is interesting because it could be argued they know what they are doing to their body, but choose to use them because of the pressure. Another argument is, they go into medicine to potentially save lives, and one in seven consider taking their own.

Furthermore, because they are medical students they may feel they cannot report their issues as they may be deemed unfit for practice. Which would in turn also affect their results in a negative way.

It is a combat of emotions for medical students who have numerous exams, and have to get used to the emotional side of dealing with sick patients regularly.

Perhaps this is the best time to open this discussion as the New Year starts for students. To hopefully have lecturers and tutors discuss the approach they have to mental health, and the wellbeing of medical students.

If you have suffered, please let us know your story.

Or please share any thoughts you may have in regards to this study.

[1] Onmedica.com,. ‘Onmedica – News – One In Seven UK Medical Students Has Thought About Committing Suicide’. N.p., 2015.

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