By Steve Bialick, OMS-IV, RowanSOM
AACOM's Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) and the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) are excited to have officially launched the Mental Health Awareness Task Force (MHATF), a campaign to promote emotional and psychological well-being among health care professionals. A common theme among osteopathic leaders this year has been “resilience”—and this task force has been nothing shy of resilient.
Statistics show that a significant percentage of medical students feel burned out, have felt depressed, and may have had suicidal thoughts throughout their time in medical school or residency, often continuing into their careers as health care providers. In fact, some reports show that almost 400 physicians commit suicide annually, and 400,000 physicians report burnout.
However, medical students and health care professionals often forego mental health counseling in fear of judgment by their peers, residency program directors, preceptors, and others. Thus, it is the mission of the MHATF to raise awareness and spark dialogue about this issue within the health care community, and support the elimination of mental health stigma nationwide.
For the first time ever, osteopathic medical students are being asked direct, real-life questions about their own mental health in order to kick-start a conversation that shows them that they are not alone. The MHATF recently challenged DO students throughout the country to fill out a 10-15 minute Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved questionnaire to help show the world what’s really going on inside the minds of medical students. Students are encouraged to contact their student government presidents and/or COSGP representatives to learn how to get involved. Together, we will work to #save400.
Learn more by visiting the Mental Health Awareness Task Force web page on AACOM’s COSGP web section.