As one of the four winners of Avant’s recent student health
competition, I was fortunate enough to attend the Health Professionals’
Health Conference in Brisbane. It was empowering to see representatives from
all aspects of the medical profession gathered to discuss the magnitude and
complexity of these problems.
It was a combined show of solidarity
and support. Any medical practitioner can be affected, and medical students
are not immune.
I learned that as medical students, we should be
confronting these issues now, in medical school, before the overtime and the
excessive responsibility take over, and before the consequences of our
potential burn-out become overwhelming.
The beyondblue report, released
in October 2013, found that many doctors believed people thought less of their
peers who had experienced depression or anxiety, but if anything, attending
the Health Practitioner’s Health Conference illustrated to me the importance
of communicating our struggles with our peers. Who can we turn to for safe
harbour if not other medical professionals?
My fellow medical
students, advocate to your medical school for more pastoral support. Practice
self-help and learn your limits. Reach out to your peers, and facilitate
regular and non-judgemental discussions about your issues. At the end of the
day, we will be better doctors for the self-awareness that we cultivate in