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Views And Reviews

Suicide among medical students

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 09 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5465
  1. Faye Gishen, consultant physician and associate head of MBBS
  1. UCL Medical School, London, UK
  1. f.gishen{at}

We have a duty of care to our future doctors, says Faye Gishen

As a profession, we need to discuss suicide openly, and extend these discussions beyond patients to include our colleagues and students. While there is a tentative but increasingly emboldened literature around mental health problems and suicide in senior and junior doctors, there is little specifically about medical students.12

Suicide is the most common avoidable cause of death in young people. There is currently no evidence to show that the prevalence of death by suicide in medical students is higher than in the general population (or indeed the wider student population), but there is an allied and growing literature around medical student perfectionism, anxiety, depression, burnout, and suicidal ideation.34 The data suggest that stigma and fear of fitness to practise sequelae can inhibit medical students from seeking help.5

There is little written about those students …

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