Editor-in-Chief, Opinions
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Introduction to in-Training Mental Health Week 2016: A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

My medical school, Indiana University, is one of the largest in the country with over 300 students in each graduating class. Sadly, each year it seems we lose one of our classmates to suicide. The surprising part? These numbers might be lower than the national average. In the United States, approximately 300 to 400 physicians commit suicide each year. A 2009 study in Academic Medicine reported that 12 percent of medical students had major depression and nearly six percent experienced suicide ideation. To visualize these numbers, in my class alone, statistically, 18 students have experienced suicide ideation and approximately 36 have major depression.

What about medicine and medical school cause medical students to experience 15 to 30 percent higher rates of depression? Personally, I believe it is a lack of conversation and recognition. Medicine appears to be a stoic field in which we believe that we can’t care for patients if we ourselves, the health care providers, are unhealthy, and as a result, we fake health. This problem is paramount when the illness is not visible,but rather mental.

The first step to addressing our field’s problem is seemingly simple, but realistically the most difficult: acknowledging there is a problem. The purpose of the in-Training Mental Health Week is to begin that discussion and provide an outlet for our colleagues to share their emotions, frustrations and silent struggles. The next step? Seek help. We encourage anyone who even thinks they might suffer from depression or prolonged periods of sadness or frustration to reach out to their schools’ counseling departments. Thank you for those that shared their experiences this week and we encourage all our readers to consider sharing in the future.

Joe Ladowski Joe Ladowski (4 Posts)

Consulting Editor, Former Editor-in-Chief (2015-2017) and Former Medical Student Editor (2014-2015)

University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine

Hi everyone! My name is Joe Ladowski and I am a MSTP (MD/PhD) student at University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine. I am originally from Fort Wayne, IN I attended undergraduate at the University of Chicago and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Biological Sciences with a Specialization in Endocrinology. While at the UofC I was an active member of the school's rugby team, a volunteer with Global Brigades, and spent my free electives taking courses in Medical Ethics. Right now I'm leaning towards a career in surgery, possibly transplant surgery. My research focuses on xenotransplantation, genetically modifying pigs for human transplant. Aside from the normal medical student stuff I'm interested in the ethics of organ allocation and the policy behind the current laws. I love reading all sorts of books and would love to teach someday. I was also actively involved in my school's medical spanish, medical ethics, and medical student book clubs.