Every year approximately 14,000 medical students graduate in Pakistan and more than half of them suffer from depression while studying. This is why 30 percent of graduates quit their profession and prefers to stay at home rather than to go for further studies. Among these graduates are mostly women. So, the time has come to start a debate about the seriousness of depression, depression in medical students and its effect on their wellbeing.
It has been well-established that many students opt for pre-medical in secondary school education to enter into the medical field i.e. MBBS, BDS, and DPT, etc. But only 10 percent of them make it and are successful in getting admission in medical colleges. The preparation for the test, the tough competition, the inability to clear the test and the pressure of family and society affect the aspiring students and they enter into extreme depression. Furthermore, the 10 percent who makes it to the medical college also face extreme stress and depression due to study burden, tough competition, the pursuit of high grades and their goal to excel in studies.
It has been also noticed that the students who fail to get admission in medical colleges waste their one or two years for better preparation to have an admission next year. Society and family pressure them to enter the medical field by hook or crook. Such students suffer from anxiety, stress, and depression. This depression menace is reaching alarming heights every year. Students lose interest in their personal life and all their time and energy are wasted in the rush to get admission to medical institutions.
The 10 percent of students who enter medical college also suffer from extreme depression since medical education is considered to be very tough and the study burden gives them a hard time. Every student tries to cope up with these extreme tense conditions. Some fail to clear their exams, some lose their interest in studies completely and quits the degree and in extreme cases, the student fails to keep up with the continuous pressure and they commit suicide.
Suicide is the effect of extreme depression when the person has a complete mental breakdown and the person sees no real reason to live anymore. This extreme mood disorder will make a person have contempt for his own life, he sees no reason to live anymore and takes some action to commit suicide. In Pakistan, approximately 90 percent of medical students suffer from some form of depression and 30 percent of them have chronic depression, they have extremely negative thoughts and they even think of committing suicide. Unfortunately, 18 percent of them attempt it. Lopez and Murray, global health researchers, said “It is estimated that by the year 2020, anxiety and depression will be the second most common cause of disability worldwide”
Medical undergraduates face tremendously hard challenges and undoubtedly tough studies make them mentally upset that they start thinking of either quitting or attempting suicide. Most of the undergraduate and graduate students quit their studies because Pakistan does not reward them according to the hardships that they faced during studies.
Graduate students were interviewed recently about the depression in medical students and more than half of them felt discouraged and depressed with the very competitive environment of medical institutes. Most of the students just wanted to fulfill their parents’ dream and from inside they were highly depressed. One of the medical students stated that medical institutes are cages that may make you or destroy you. Such types of statements were common in many students.
Graduate students also suffer from depression. They are trying hard to get jobs but due to a lack of opportunities, they are unable to find any proper job. With no proper jobs in sight according to their qualifications, many of the graduate students start their job as a junior or assistant medical officer in private hospitals or clinics with 15,000 to 20,000 of salary per month. There is a major shortage of hospitals in Pakistan and many of the degree holder doctors are desperately looking for jobs.
Medical students should be given a relaxed study environment so that they continue their education without stress. Moreover, more medical colleges should be built where many of the left out students can get admission. More collages mean less competitive environment, the students will be able to achieve their dreams and goals instead of getting depressed and having negative thoughts of attempting suicide. And more hospitals should be built for graduate students where they can easily get jobs instead of living with depression.
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