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Alarming Sucide Rate: 27 Percent Of Medical School Students Are Depressed And Suicidal, New Study Shows

By Christie Abagon , Dec 08, 2016 01:27 AM EST
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No one who graduated from medical school said it was easy.  The pressure in being able to make it to graduation day is causing students to be depressed, and sometimes suicidal  A recent survey shows that an alarming number of medical school students suffer depressive symptoms. 

Depressed Students Need Help But Only Some Sought Treatment

A recent research conducted in the US reviewed analysis of 200 smaller studies participated by about 129,000 students in 47 countries.  Co-author of the study, Dr. Douglas Mata, resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said that based on the results, 27 percent of students in medical school suffer from depression or has depressive symptoms; 11 percent said they thought about committing suicide.  Only 16 percent of students who are tested positive for depression sought treatment. 

The researchers said: "These data suggest that depressive and suicidal symptoms in medical trainees may adversely affect the long-term health of physicians as well as the quality of care delivered in academic medical centers."

Stress And Anxiety Are Possible Causes Of Depression

According to the authors, the possible causes of depression and suicidal thoughts are stress and the anxiety that comes with the competitiveness of medical school.  This is becoming a serious problem, not just in the US, but in the whole world. 

Dr Mata said: "There were several hundred individual studies of smaller groups of students that were out there, but each on its own is not that impactful.  I thought by combining everything and saying, 'listen, this is a study with over 120,000 people in it; this is something we're seeing around the world,' it kind of underscores how serious this is."

A previous study has shown that physicians suicide more than any other profession, so the authors of this new study noted that further research needs to be conducted to investigate how depression in medical school affects medical residents once they leave school.  

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