BY: AFREENISH GUL, BATCH XX
To read about the human condition is ever so heartbreaking as it is empowering. When we enroll in any academic program that aims to acquaint a few minds with the workings of the universe we all carry within ourselves, something happens. You see, when a numbered few have access to such classified information, the society sets them up for failure. Or at least that’s how I see it- overworked and underpaid individuals, devoid of recreation and constantly in search of something. The system works such that nothing ever seems enough.
It was recently reported that upon the death of a colleague as a consequence of suicide, a medical student in the United States voraciously spoke about unaddressed psychological issues taking a toll on the performance and lives of those who are a part of this noble fraternity. Not surprisingly, this “epidemic of student depression” is chronic and recurrent. In medicine, these adjectives would indicate a poor prognosis necessitating relevant and immediate medical intervention.
So, how do you look after the wellbeing of current and future health care providers? At present, there is very little to boast about. To begin with, conversing about mental health is not a taboo. We must make institutional efforts to rid all those who are affected the fear of being ostracized. Students, teachers and employees alike should be granted access to reliable mental health services. If need be, the cost of treatment should be negotiable. Nothing is worse than knowing you have a problem and being rendered incapable by your circumstances.
The school administration can also help by improving the grading system such so as to lower competition among fellow peers and facilitate synergy.
Many medical schools practice a pass-fail curriculum during undergraduate years with emphasis on group activities such as research or clinical externships. Not only does this provide students with an opportunity to explore substantial interpersonal attributes such as leadership and teamwork but also grants them the time to consider their options mindfully, without the fear of losing in this rat race of sorts.
In conclusion, I believe it is mandatory upon all of us to guard not only that which is relevant to our own welfare but also empathize with all those who suffer in silence.
The author’s motto is “To err is human”.