Student service providers, faculty, staff, and current medical students share personal stories of resilience, resources for maintaining well-being, and programs, practices, and strategies they have found to be effective in building student well-being.
The views and opinions expressed in this collection are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Doctors have some of the best access to mental health resources, yet they have nearly double the risk of suicide when compared to non-health care workers. On this week’s episode of “Beyond the White Coat,” host AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, talks to Justin Bullock, MD, MPH, and Yunyu Xiao, PhD, about the stigmas that surround mental health in the medical profession and how those stigmas trickle down into patient care.
Almost 30% of medical students and residents suffer from depression and 10% report having suicidal thoughts. Now, a growing number of medical schools and teaching hospitals are developing programs to identify and help at-risk trainees.
Black children ages 5 to 12 are twice as likely to die by suicide as their White peers, and Black teen suicides are growing at shocking rates. What’s going on, and what can be done to help save young Black lives?
You have committed to this difficult and amazing profession because you care and want to make a difference. There is a way to do it well and stay well yourself.
At the start of medical school, I grappled with an unexpected sense of loneliness.
Waking up in medicine is easy for some, but hard for many. And even for those who have it down pat, there are days when waking up feels more challenging than usual.
But one of the lessons I learned is easily accessible: we are not solely defined by how we have spent our time.
A big red flag telling me that my mental health is declining is the food that I’m eating. During high-stress periods, I’ll notice that all my meals come from the freezer or from takeout. These options have their place; they’re quick, tasty, and sometimes necessary for long days.
Sometimes it feels like medical school has made me an amplified version of myself, for better and for worse.
With vaccinations still rolling out, social distancing and masks are unquestionable accessories to our caps and gowns.
FREE — I was so happy and wanted to be there; my patients could tell. BELIEVE — What matters is that I know I am doing my best. KNOW — I am capable and have the spirit and humility to improve every day. HARD WORK — Helping the most incredible women I know: my patients.
My hope is that by raising awareness of the subtle signs of burnout, physicians will not only be introspective of their own "internal battery” but also unfaltering advocates for the mental and physical health of their colleagues. Without further delay, here are three subtle signs of burnout I have recognized throughout my medical training.
An editorial that examines the potential value of self-disclosure about mental distress and illness.
The author explores medical student depression and suicide through the lens of personal struggles and calls for medical schools to create a culture that normalizes self-care and includes vulnerability as part of professionalism training. Feel free to adapt this to match the style of the other cards as needed.
“Are you satisfied with your scores?” This question tends to cause distress for many of us. But the intention of this article is not to cause distress nor to provide bulletproof science defending a thesis.
What does this mean? Should you, a medical student, be managing the stress from our global health crisis by reading the Bible or other religious texts?
We can recognize the white coat for what it is or is not, whether it has magic or not, and find magic somewhere else in medicine.
Being a Black, female medical student in America during a pandemic has been heavy, to say the least.
My first piece of written feedback during my clinical year was ripe with criticism. I regrettably reacted to it by reading and re-reading it, allowing discouragement and imposter’s syndrome to slowly infiltrate my psyche.
Personally, the COVID-19 experience has caused me anxiety. I worry about the health of my family and friends, the safety of my colleagues on the frontlines, the overwhelming changes in medical education, and the future of our society.
Suddenly, the future that I had crafted was in flux, and a flurry of questions started flowing through my head. I quickly realized that my mental health was taking a turn for the worse, and I needed to do something to get back on track.
Managing life is not about managing situations but managing our response to situations.
Difficult times. Unprecedented times. Different times. Regardless of how the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders are phrased, the impact on many is the same.
Med school can be extremely challenging under the best of circumstances. Add the stress of an unprecedented global pandemic, and it’s going to feel overwhelming to almost all medical students!
It’s wonderful to be starting medical school, and important to celebrate such a remarkable achievement this summer.
The new “Detour” Student Interest Group (SIG) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC aims to increase visibility and decrease stigma related to the different routes a person can take to complete their medical school training.
“I used to think that grief was something that a person went through alone. That was, until I went to medical school.”
Rigorous. Stressful. Competitive. Before a prospective medical student submits the application or is even admitted to medical school, these words become all too familiar.
The i2i initiative has enriched our community by allowing students to engage in meaningful discourse on potentially divisive topics in order to foster inclusion and celebrate diverse viewpoints.
Is all of this worth it? Will it provide me a fulfilling and sustaining life? What do I have outside of medicine?
The medical school experience is like no other. It’s difficult to find the words that can fully illustrate the experience to someone who has not gone through it.
A student’s socioeconomic status (SES) can impact their lived experiences and how faculty and peers perceive them in medical school.
Supportive professors, deans, and the worsening of my health convinced me to be more vulnerable about my illness, and it was one of the best decisions I made.
Implicit bias is when a person makes a judgement about another person based on unconscious stereotypes.
The obvious next question is what can be done to begin changing the experience of medical students to be more trans-friendly?
Nurture the Basics! Treat Yourself! Stay Connected!
A medical student offers advice for anyone who wants to maintain their faith or spiritual life while attending medical school.
“There are two skills that would benefit students as they navigate these issues: learning how to communicate about relationships and identifying their own needs or knowing how to get support.”
Journaling and self-reflection can be used as a method to minimize stress and burnout.
“The first time seeking help is the hardest. It’s especially hard as a medical student. We think a successful doctor should cope with all their difficulties on their own.” — Catherine Song
Shifting from Happy When to Happy Now.
“When I got accepted to medical school, I felt that I was finally at the finish line. But actually, I was just beginning the race.” — Sehr Kahn
Considering the relatively high prevalence of burnout and psychological distress among medical students, it is imperative that strategies are employed by student communities and institutions to defend student freedom to find balance in hobbies or recreation.