A study conducted on 400 MBBS students of different years in Delhi’s Vardhman Mahavir Medical College-Safdarjung Hospital, has revealed that burnout, a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, is highly prevalent in most students.
The study was conducted by the Department of Community Medicine and was authored by Dr Rupsa Banerjee, Dr Manasi Panda and Dr Anirudh Saxena.
The one month study, which was conducted in January and February 2019, found that 90% of participants admitted that they suffer from some sort of burnout but only 71 out of 400 said that they need mental health counseling at Counseling and Wellness Centre in the hospital.
The study revealed that like the general population that is hesitant to go to hospital for treatment of mental illness, they too are reluctant to go to the counseling centre due to stigma and confidentiality issues.
The burnout which was found among students relates to their academic performance, personal relationship and relationship with colleagues. They can’t cope with their burnouts. However, the study found that only nine out of 71 took counseling at the centre.
Students did not turn up for counseling due to various reasons including confidentiality, stigma, sign of weakness, clashing of timing of class and counseling centers, lack of admission that they suffer from mental illness and unsure that their problem will be solved.
Dr Banerjee told DTMT: “We have found that stigma attached to burnout or mental health is prevalent among large number of students at VMMC. The issue of burnout could be reflected in other medical colleges too which is a sign of suicidal ideation.”
Dr Banerjee added that there is need to spread awareness among students that they should get treatment before it could become a big problem for them. Dr Banerjee said that students should be taken into confidence that any information they share with the doctor will not be disclosed to anyone. The reason for not going to the counselor could be lack of judgment due to young age of students.
Dr Banerjee stressed that there is need to treat this burnout at the initial stage. If it is not treated in the first stage then it will lead to depression and later turn into severe depression.