The mental health and wellbeing of medical students is a subject often swept under the rug, a stigma hidden by white coats. Medical students consistently have higher rates of mental health issues compared to the general population – including stress, distress, burnout, anxiety, depression. We enter university with the same levels of psychological wellbeing as the general population, but during the course of medical school our risks go up significantly.
Did You Know?
1 in 5 medical students in the last 12 months have had thoughts of suicide
1 in 2 medical students suffers from emotional exhaustion
Almost 20% of medical students have been diagnosed with depression
40% of medical students perceive there are stigmatising attitudes regarding doctors with mental health conditions
Our campaign aims to improve and address medical student wellbeing through action at a ‘grass roots’ level, as well as affecting change at a university and external advocacy level.
In order to successfully address these issues, the AMSA Mental Health Campaign will aim to:
Decrease stigma and increase awareness and mental health literacy regarding mental health issues amongst medical students
Promote preventative measures to improve coping strategies and resilience
Enable and empower students to look out for their peers and colleagues and take action
Facilitate improved access to and uptake of mental health services
On this website you will find information about each project within the campaign, as well as a comprehensive and streamlined list of mental health services and resources that are relevant to YOU. So get clicking, share with your friends, and remember – your health IS important!
Academy of the Mind
In 2014, AMSA Academy launched as a platform to educate medical students on topics relating to health through online short courses. Academy of the Mind is one of the short courses focusing on mental health of medical students. The course focuses on your own wellbeing, looking after your colleagues, and the broader issue of mental health and wellbeing from a public health perspective. The course has a wide range of speakers, as well as interactive forums and quizzes. AMSA Academy is available for both Australian and international medical students, and won the award for the Best Project Presentation at the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) in August 2014. To access the course please visit www.academy.amsa.org.au
Blue Week is a series of themed events over a weeklong period that aims to engage the medical student body in the area of mental health and wellbeing through increasing mental health literacy and reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues among the medical profession. It began as an initiative of the University of Western Sydney Medical Society and has now spread across most medical universities in Australia. The week varies across universities, and includes a number of blue themed events including comedy nights, workshops, yoga and meditation classes, barbeques, and a blue themed party to raise money and awareness for mental health and wellbeing. For more information please contact email@example.com
Website and Facebook Page
Social media is a key aspect of this campaign to engage students in mental health and wellbeing. The website consists of information regarding student mental health, as well as a wide range of resources available to students seeking help across Australia. Further, the website contains a blog, in which students are invited to share their stories to reduce stigma and support one another. The Facebook page and website are avenues in which to advertise mental health articles, events, workshops and information to students living in all locations across Australia. Accessible via mentalhealth.amsa.org.au.
National Mentoring Network
The AMSA Mentor Network is a national initiative seeking to bring together all those interested in the establishment of mentorships for medical students. Using research, evaluation, education, training and intervarsity collaboration the AMN aims to Support the Mentee, Develop the Mentor and Enrich the Profession. The AMN is in the process of establishing an evidence based framework for the mentoring of medical students in Australia and will be an ongoing platform for the development and improvement of mentoring programs around the country. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Get-A-GP is a joint campaign between AMSA and General Practice Students’ Network (GPSN). The campaign was born out of a growing concern that few medical students and doctors had their own general practitioner, and as a result were not seeking help when required or self-treating. Get-A-GP is a database of GPs across Australia who bulk-bill medical students in order to encourage students to get their own GP. For more information please contact email@example.com
Community Action Network (AMSA CAN)
AMSA CAN is a database of all the community and wellbeing initiatives across all medical societies in Australia. It is collection of guidelines and contact details for successful initiatives, such as events and workshops to be run in other medical societies.
A number of workshops have been written and conducted across Australian and international conferences focusing on medical student mental health. The Carefactor workshop aims to educate students about early signs of mental health issues, and upskill students to help their peers through the appropriate networks and approach. Further, Code Blue is a three-day intensive workshop delivered at IFMSA to upskill medical students worldwide how to approach mental health of medical students in their country.
Keeping Your Grass Greener Guide
Keeping Your Grass Greener is a wellbeing guide developed specifically for medical students and first released in 2011 in conjunction with the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA). The guide aims to provide practical and relevant wellbeing advice to students and includes a variety of articles from experts in the field of mental health on topics ranging from resilience and mindfulness to healthy eating on a budget. The guide also includes useful advice on noticing the signs of mental health difficulty, and provides a comprehensive list of resources and services. To download the guide, please click here.