I read a worrying article the other day by the British Medical Association that claimed that the rates of mental health problems among medical students were among the highest among university students. Stress and mental health problems have been well documented in the media amongst health care professionals. With long working hours, patient demands and the burden of responsibility, you can imagine the high-stress environment in which these amazing individuals work in. As I move to the end stages of my life in medical school, it is becoming more of a reality to me that I am going to start my working life as a doctor; and even though I cannot wait to start working, I know that the first few months are going to be pretty miserable as I get used to working as a junior doctor.
I am sure you all know that unfortunately, mental health has a certain stigma and even though some of the barriers have been broken down, there is still a long way to go. I feel that a lot of doctors feel that they need to be invincible and therefore are less inclined to seek help when they are under a lot of stress. Obviously the stresses of a medical student are no where near as bad as what it is for doctors. Even so, the long hours, travelling to various placements, and the weight of their future hanging on exams is enough to make anyone feel as though they’re not coping.
For me, there is more to medical school than textbooks and revision. Balancing a good work-life balance is really important to me as it really does help me remain more sane!