Medical schools should come up with programs for the mental health of medical students, who allegedly have deeper depression than ordinary people and commit suicide attempts more frequently than the latter, a professor says.
“Many studies show medical students are in more depressive mood than ordinary people and try to kill themselves more often, too,” said Professor Suh Bo-kyong of Korea University College of Medicine who is also deputy dean of the student department, in his recent contribution to the E-Newsletter of the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.
Suh explained the background of his assertion by citing the article titled “Mental Health Service for Medical Students – Time to Act,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently.
“Students who enter the medical college with normal mental health tend to experience deepening sense of depression, extreme exhaustion and suicidal impulses,” Professor Suh said. “About 10 percent of medical students reportedly make suicide attempts, according to the NEJM article. “This is related to the characteristics of medical training, and a majority of students who consult the faculty for mental health problems are those in the first two years at medical colleges.”
He noted that major causes that aggravate students’ mental health include concentration problems, worries about academic attainment, excessive training schedule and cost burdens, which combined to make it all but impossible for students to receive counsels and treatments properly. “Now is the time we medical colleges
Korea University College of Medicine has already been conducting various programs for its students, such as establishing “Student Happiness Center.” It has also begun to hold lectures and meetings by inviting professors whom students want to meet, introduced one-on-one mentoring programs, offered yoga and Pilates lessons, and organized meditation classes and antismoking lectures.
“Medical students are the future of Korea’s medical community. Only when they are happy, will future patients be happy and the nation, too,” he said. “We need to run happiness center for medical students. It is urgent for medical schools to come up with own programs that can bolster students’ mental health.”
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