What do the doctors of tomorrow think about mental health awareness?

What do the doctors of tomorrow think about mental illness and psychiatric care?  Rab Houston reflects on a recent visit to a leading Scottish medical school.

A couple of weeks ago, I travelled to the University of Glasgow to hold a class about my podcasts with second year medical students doing an elective course on the history of medicine. A lively and receptive audience, they talked about perceptions of mental illness among their peer group, the continuing stigma attached to mental illness compared with other conditions such as alcoholism, the changing social and cultural thresholds which seem to offer the best explanation of the mushrooming of reported cases of anxiety and depression, methods other than podcasting which can help raise awareness of mental health, and about the image that psychiatry has in the medical profession itself.

I have talked to specialist academics and clinicians in the field of psychology and psychiatry before, but this was the first time I had detailed discussions with people training to be doctors, who will be the cutting edge of medical interventions in cases of mental disorder – whether they become psychiatrists themselves or the GPs who conduct 95% of all consultations about mental ill-health in Britain today.

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