Mental health in medical education: Alarming 37,667 medical students and faculty call for help in NMC survey

As of 6 May, the survey gathered 25,590 responses from UG students, 5,337 from PG students, and 6,740 from faculty and administrators.

ByChetana Belagere

Published May 15, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedMay 15, 2024 | 7:00 AM

depression

In just 10 days, an alarming 37,667 students and faculty from medical colleges across India reported mental health concerns through an online survey initiated by the National Medical Commission (NMC) on 26 April.

This urgent response underscores a severe mental health crisis among medical students and faculty, demanding immediate action.

As of 6 May, the survey gathered 25,590 responses from undergraduate (UG) students, 5,337 from postgraduate (PG) students, and 6,740 from faculty and administrators, highlighting the widespread nature of the issue.

Dr Yogesh Malik from the Media and Ethics Department of the NMC told South First, “Yes. there has been a huge response to the online survey.”

He added: “The committee is analysing the responses. The nature of complaints will be known once the analyses of all responses have been done.”

Related: NMC task force launches survey for mental health of medical students

What is the survey about?

The NMC recently set up a National Task Force (NTF) for the Mental Health and Well-being of Medical Students under its Anti-Ragging Committee to address the issues of mental health and well-being among medical students in the country.

The NTF developed a questionnaire for UG and PG students as well as for the faculty and administrators of medical colleges across the country.

The questionnaire was based on several reports of mental health concerns, suicide, depression, and stress among medical students and faculty.

It was formulated to be aimed at understanding the possible reasons behind these problems.

The online survey was launched on 26 April to collect responses from all the medical colleges. The identity of the students was kept confidential.

Related: NMC national task force to examine suicide among medical students

Students seek help in droves

As mentioned earlier, of the 37,667 responses received, 25,590 were from undergraduate students and 5,337 were from postgraduate students. Also, 6,740 responses came from faculty and administrators.

“This means the struggles with mental health, stress, pressure, and work hours are widespread and affect multitudes,” said a senior resident student from a medical college in Telangana.

“The problem starts from the graduation level. From ragging to problems with senior residents, PG residents working for almost 20 hours a day, and the faculty being overworked, everything is a concern,” he added.

“These need to be addressed on an urgent basis. We have already lost several medical students and doctors in medical colleges to depression, cardiac arrests (due to stress), and suicide. Our voices are never heard. This survey should not just remain on paper,” he said.

Mallik from NMC told South First that following the collection of the responses, NTF held a meeting on 9 May to discuss them.

He said, “The task force is in the process of analysing the data and will come up with the final report with recommendations and strategies for improving mental health and well-being of medical students across the country.”

He added that a final report would be submitted to the NMC’s Anti-Ragging Committee for policy-level changes.

Asked about the time frame for this, Malik said the recommendations might come in the next three weeks.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)