Depression and suicidal ideation common among medical students

It is well known that medical students are at high risk for depression and suicidal ideation given their high levels of stress and responsibility. Current studies vary in their estimates of rates of depression and suicidal ideation, and there are conflicting findings with regards to how these vary by year, sex, and other characteristics. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate prevalence of depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation in medical students. In over 180 studies comprising more than 120 000 students from 43 countries, the overall rate of depression or depressive symptoms was 27%. There was a 13% increase in depressive symptoms before compared to during medical school. The prevalence did not differ between students in preclinical and clinical portions of their training. Only 15% of students with depression sought psychiatric treatment for their depression. In 24 studies with over 21 000 students from 15 countries, the overall rate of suicidal ideation was 11%.

Overall, this study suggests that depression, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation are quite common in the medical student population across the world, but not nearly enough seek medical treatment. The study benefited from its large sample size which included students from around the world and thus increases its generalizability. However, there was a large degree of heterogeneity among studies as each had different designs… Read More>>

Source: JAMA

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