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masalachai

Mental Health And Medical School

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Sadly, I agree with ellorie.

 

I know that, by including it, you hope to show your personal strength. However, you risk that, whoever reads your app, will think of it as a potential negative. They may not be doing it consciously, but there is the risk that comes from the long-held stigma of mental illness.

 

If you don't need to talk about it, as you're not applying for special consideration, I would be very careful about including it.

Nobody has to know anything about it.

 

Actually what gave me the idea about including it in my application is my doctor. He kept telling me about how I am one of the strongest patients he has ever seen because I didn't collapse under the pressure of my anxiety ...........  so I thought ..... hey I can use this in my application !

 

But then when I gave the matter some thought ........... I got worried that may be someone would view it in the opposite way ............ that I can't handle stress and that's why I developed an anxiety disorder .......... although nobody knows why it happens ............ but it's just stigma as you guys said .....

 

So I guess it's better not to risk it .......

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I know someone who included overcoming eating disorder in his or her personal statement and got into medical school . This person also did some ECs with mental illness, i.e, starting an organization to raise awareness about eating disorder and stigmatization.

 

I agree that including mental illness in your application could be positive and negative (depends on the selection committee). It depends on the way you present it, and also on the way the admission committee is going to view it.

 

I am sorry to say that among medical students, mental health is extremely stigmatized and neglected upon. I know quite a few med fellows who are undergoing a lot of stress, who refuse or are very reluctant to go look for help within faculty (we have mental health support counselling with psychiatrists and psychologists provided to med students). Only a few people are willing to go seek for help, since the majority are afraid that it will be known by their colleagues and by doctors in the CaRMs selection committee (even though it is entirely confidential). Medical school gives a lot of stress (demanding), I believe that we need to take good care of ourselves before healing our patients. 

Nobody has to know anything about it.

 

Actually what gave me the idea about including it in my application is my doctor. He kept telling me about how I am one of the strongest patients he has ever seen because I didn't collapse under the pressure of my anxiety ...........  so I thought ..... hey I can use this in my application !

 

But then when I gave the matter some thought ........... I got worried that may be someone would view it in the opposite way ............ that I can't handle stress and that's why I developed an anxiety disorder .......... although nobody knows why it happens ............ but it's just stigma as you guys said .....

 

So I guess it's better not to risk it .......

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PCT6TH - I am trying to figure out the same thing. this is really hard to answer. I also suffered from anxiety during one semester of my studies that seriously hurt my grades. It was just the one semester, and there are reasons behind it, but none that I would be willing to discuss on an application. I suppose I could generally say "family issues" but I think that could be perceived as vague? I have been fine ever since, but during that short period of time, my doctor did recommend that I send a note to my school and let them know that I wouldn't be able to write my exams. I wrote them anyway, and failed as expected. Anyway I want to indicate this on my application, as their is a reason for the brief interruption in my upward trend. Has anyone ever mentioned these sorts of things on an application, and if so, did you get in anyway?

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Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight, everyone.

 

PeanutBUtter1, I'm grappling with the same issue. If I leave out the part about my mental health in my personal statement, I'm not sure how I can possibly describe my disastrous first undergrad GPA. It's tough...

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Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight, everyone.

 

PeanutBUtter1, I'm grappling with the same issue. If I leave out the part about my mental health in my personal statement, I'm not sure how I can possibly describe my disastrous first undergrad GPA. It's tough...

Hi MasalaChai, sorry to hear you're experiencing similar struggle as myself. Take a look at a thread I started in the UBC forum. I posted something similar there because that's the school I'm applying to. I found it helpful, you may as well. It's unfortunate that this is an issue for so many people that cannot be spoken about openly.

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I can't speak for your particular case but keep in mind that medical school and residency are very stressful. There's a lot of literature out there that supports that students/residents are chronically overworked, depressed and have considered suicide. Many people out there with no previous psychiatric history go through periods of mood liability, myself included. It's just very difficult not to, given the nature of work and the working atmosphere. You have to be cognizant of what your triggers are and how easily you go over the edge because this may be a journey you just may not have any gas to finish.

 

As an aside, do not talk about your "issues" on your application. No one really cares because we all have them so don't use that as a crutch. If you failed spectacularly at any given setback you are likely to fail during medical school/residency so don't give them a reason to deny you. I used to wonder why they make you jump through all the hoops to get into medical school (high grades, extracurriculars, etc) and now it all makes sense. If you can't juggle those things and succeed prior to medical school, you will have major issues when you have to juggle it down the road.

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