Dealing with stress
Medical schools should teach us how to cope
Many recommendations have been made and implemented to counter the stresses of studying medicine since these students spoke out (see box). But medical schools should consider integrating training in coping skills as part of the medical curriculum, to make sure help reaches those most in need.
Stress in medical students is common, 23 even in the early stages of training. In one study, 62 out of 172 first year students (36%) in the north of England had probable psychological disturbance according to a well recognised psychological questionnaire.4 On entering medical school, students experience a rise in depression scores that persists over time.5 Overseas students have the extra burden of adapting to a new cultural environment.6
There are many causes for psychological distress in medical students. Training is long and hard, and character traits such as perfectionism have been associated with depression and anxiety both in medical students7 and doctors.8 Medical