Certain members of the Wellness Committee are available to all medical students as an early confidential resource for individuals in need of personal and emotional support. We will meet with individuals with any type of concern and provide support and information about campus resources without directly involving the medical school faculty. We have received training from the Psychological Counseling Center and have extensive knowledge of the resources offered on the Vanderbilt Campus. Our faculty advisor will provide oversight of this program and student names will only be shared with the advisor if there is an explicit safety concern. We are accessible through multiple channels, including phone and email. Through our work, we hope to increase awareness of mental health issues and provide early intervention to students in need.
The Importance of Students Helping One Another
Anxiety and depression are common among Vanderbilt Medical Students. A study by Ghodasara et al of the Vanderbilt Medical School student body showed that nearly 25% of students were at least mildly depressed and “approximately 20% of men and 40% of women had clinically significant state anxiety and that 20% to 25% of men and 40% to 46% of women had clinically significant trait anxiety.”
Mental wellness is vital to our experience because medical students face many difficult challenges and are notorious for struggling in silence. More often than not, we think we are alone with our feelings of uncertainty, depression and anxiety and feel uncomfortable discussing our difficulties. We fear that by sharing our problems, we will reveal our weaknesses and prove to others that we are really not qualified to be doctors. To promote individual and community wellness in this setting, we must encourage individuals to have compassion for themselves and their struggles and provide them with access to the resources they need. We must create an atmosphere where asking for help is de-stigmatized and not considered a sign of weakness. By encouraging students to seek help when they need it and by cultivating healthy coping mechanisms and creative outlets, we can achieve a healthy balance in our own lives and promote the wellness of the community.
How does it work?
The idea of having other students as a support network is that by providing a resource that is not formally connected to the school's administration, one of the biggest barriers for medical students seeking help and support will be alleviated.
Wellness committee members can provide you with resources, advice, and support in a manner that is confidential from the school. The steps in the process can be found here.