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Depressed medical students worry about stigma

This week, researchers from the University of Michigan reported that depressed medical students are extremely aware of the stigma associated with depression. The study, Depression, Stigma, and Suicidal Ideation in Medical Students, showed that 53.3 percent of medical students who reported high levels of depressive symptoms were worried that revealing their illness would be risky. Almost 62 percent of the same students said asking for help would mean the student's coping skills were inadequate.

"If medical students are critical of each other about depression, how does that transfer to patients? We don't want the medical education experience to make them less tolerant of mental illness. Stigma seems to be lessening among the general public. But it is possible the medical professional is lagging behind," says Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., the lead author on the paper and the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of U-M's Department of Family Medicine (University of Michigan Health System press release.) 

"Somehow we have to change the environment in which we are teaching future physicians,” continued Dr. Schwenk.

AMSA’s strategic commitment to humanism in medicine extends opportunities to physicians-in-training in the development of lifestyles that counter the deleterious effects of stress through creative expression, self-care, balance and holistic goals for personal growth and professional development.

If you are a fourth year medical student, you might be interested in AMSA's Humanistic Elective in alternative medicine, Activism, and Reflective Transformation (HEART), a 4th clerkship accredited by the University of Florida College of Medicine in Internal Medicine, continues to be an empowering AMSA experience for students making the transition from medical school and preparing for residency training.

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