Kozhikode: The low average life expectancy of doctors in Kerala as stated in a recent Indian Medical Association(IMA) Report has been unanimously associated with work-related stress by the medical fraternity. According to experts, medical students are not much different from the rest, as depression burnouts related to stress are very common to come by.
Academic and non-academic reasons have often been seen as factors leading medicos to cross stress boundaries. A recent case being that of a 23-year-old girl student of a private medical college in Kozhikode district leaping to death from the top floor of the college building.
Professor of Psychiatry, KMCT Medical College P.N. Suresh Kumar, told The Hinduthat the tolerance level towards stress among the young er generation of medical students was at an all-time low today. “Many of them are impulsive and lack decision-making capacity. There could be a problem in their upbringing,” he said.
Medical studies with a well-defined structure and a series of practical exams call for regular hard work and a certain amount of competition too. Sometimes coping with it becomes difficult. “There is a physiological limit up to which people can stand the stress. If it goes beyond the limit, it can lead to depression and anxiety disorders,” Dr. Suresh Kumar told the Hindu.
Adjustment disorders and general anxiety disorders were the commonest ailments found among medical students. This leads to emotional instability and could be sudden mood swings. Some students are found taking recourse to drugs, he pointed out.
A recent postgraduate committing suicide at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, due to depression, had the Kerala Medical Post Graduates Association urge the Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala University of Health Sciences for a residents’ grievance cell at all medical colleges and one at the state level as well
It also expressed the need for setting up groups involving medical teachers, graduate and undergraduate students to address non-academic issues. It also spoke of intervention at the economic and personal level with students, said Rahul U.R the then Secretary, Association.
Dr. Suresh Kumar revealed that the suggestion to the university to set up counselling centres for students had remained on paper. “First and second-year undergraduate students need to be mentored. Such counselling centres could have gone a long way in addressing even the concerns of parents too,” he said.
A functionary of the Kerala Medicos Joint Action Council, meanwhile, pointed out that the varsity had neglected its stand that these groups address non-academic issues alone
He spoke of evolving a process whereby students suffering from depression could be identified and treated in accordance reports The Hindu.