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Abstract

Background

The mental health of university students, especially medical students, is of growing concern in the UK.

Aim

To estimate the prevalence of mental disorder in health sciences students and investigate help-seeking behaviour.

Method

An online survey from one English university (n = 1139; 53% response rate) collected data on depression (using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire), anxiety (seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment), alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), self-harm and well-being, as well as help seeking.

Results

A quarter of the students reported symptoms of moderate/severe depression and 27% reported symptoms of moderate/severe anxiety. Only 21% of students with symptoms of severe depression had sought professional help; the main reason for not seeking help was fear of documentation on academic records.

Conclusions

The study highlights the extent of mental health problems faced by health science students. Barriers to help seeking due to concerns about fitness-to-practise procedures urgently need to be addressed to ensure that this population of students can access help in a timely fashion.

Declaration of interest

None.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
JournalBJPsych Open
Volume4
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Alcohol Disorders
  • Deliberate Self-harm
  • Depressive Disorders
  • student

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  • Projects

    NIHR BRC Mental Health

    Gunnell, D. J.

    1/04/1731/03/22

    Project: Research, Parent

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