AMSA: World Health Day Casts Light On Black Dog
This year the World Health Organisation has selected depression to be the focus of World Health Day, Friday 7th April.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and medical students are not exempt from its grasp.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students and student mental health and wellbeing is high on their list of advocacy priorities.
According to a beyondblue survey conducted in 2013, medical students consistently had higher rates of mental health issues compared to the rest of the general population with almost 20% of students being diagnosed with depression.
AMSA President, Rob Thomas, said: “Since the results of the beyondblue survey were released in 2013, there have been some positive steps towards raising awareness and improving student mental health, but we still have a long way to go.
“1 in 5 medical students in the last 12 months have had thoughts of suicide and 1 in 2 medical students suffer from emotional exhaustion. This is largely due to academic stressors experienced by students and the heavy workload that comes with studying medicine.
“Some universities have begun offering courses focusing on mindfulness, wellbeing, stress management and mentoring that show some success. AMSA would like to see more student groups or associations supported by their medical schools in the design, implementation and execution of student-led wellbeing initiatives.
“Universities have a key role to play in the prevention and intervention of their students who may develop depression through promoting awareness and reducing the fears and stigma associated with using university-based health services.
“Mental health and wellbeing remains a vital issue because despite high awareness of support services available, students continue to feel the need to conceal their mental health needs due to fears of stigmatisation.
“The beyondblue survey was a valuable insight into mental health of medical students but we are now four years on and more research needs to be done in this area and extended to all university students.
“For students who may be experiencing symptoms of depression, stress or anxiety, please know that there is help and support available. Talk to your friends, your medical student society, or your university. There are also resources available at amsa.org.au including Keeping Your Grass Greener – a guide to student mental health and wellbeing designed by AMSA in collaboration with beyondblue.”
Media Contact: Isabella Gosper
Phone: 0416 816 830
Published: 07 Apr 2017