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Poor mental health rife in medical sector

As the conversation about the mental health of medical staff continues, the AMSA has launched a new preventative health campaign to curb the negative statistics.

The Activ8 Mental Health campaign was designed to improve awareness and self-care as both medical students and doctors remain among the most likely groups to face mental illness and suicide.

Campaign organiser Genevieve Mosley said she hoped it would engage students as well as professionals, and encourage them to take steps to improve their wellbeing.

“Students recognise preventative care as the foundation of health for our patients: sometimes we need reminders to apply it to ourselves as well,” she said.

“Activ8 Mental Health is an opportunity to raise awareness, reduce stigma and strengthen support for medical students."

The campaign was designed to have a different theme for each of the eight months leading up to October.

The first month, March, focuses on food and how healthy or unhealthy eating affects mood.

AMSA members will work on a social media campaign with research, videos and blogs, and each month will involve an activity for students to carry out with friends and peers.

During the first month, medical students will receive a starter pack to host a dinner party that includes a discussion on mental health.

AMSA president Alex Farrell said improving self-care is essential to tackle the issue of poor mental health in the medical sector.

“Preventative care isn’t the be all and end all of mental health. There are entrenched systemic issues contributing to the burden of mental health for doctors and medical students and AMSA is committed to addressing them. As long as the system is broken, all students’ mental health is at risk," she said.

“Activ8 Mental Health is an incredible campaign, but it can only go so far in addressing this vulnerability – universities, hospitals and the government need to do their part with top-down change as well,” Farrell said.

“Students can optimise their self-care and support mechanisms, but mental health issues can affect any one of us, regardless."

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