Medical students perceive stigma surrounding depression

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Depression rates among medical school students are higher than in general populations and the prevalence of stigma associated with depression is perhaps a barrier to the utilization of mental health services among this group. A study reported in the September 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that medical students believe in, and are afraid of, stigma associated with depression; stigma that they feel reveals inadequacy. Thomas L. Schwenk, MD, and colleagues from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, found that students with moderate-to-severe depression are more likely than those without depression or those with minimal depression to see consulting with a counselor about depression as “risky” (53.3% versus 16.7%, 95% CI for difference 23.2 to 50.1, P<0.001). Many more depressed students believe that seeking help for depression would be an indication of inability to handle the responsibilities of medical school (83.1% versus 55.1%, 95% CI for difference 16.1 to 39.8, P<0.001). Click here to read an article from Medpage Today that discusses this study more.

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