Suicide is a major public health problem, especially in young people. It is one of the most significant causes of mortality and potential years of life lost. Medical students are a vulnerable group presenting mental health problems.
To study the prevalence of common mental illnesses among medical students from the university of Valladolid in order to assess the need for intervention programs.
Cross-sectional study in which, 584 students participated during the academic year 2015–2016 by completing an online self-administered questionnaire. Mental health outcomes were measured by different batteries of depression, anxiety and suicide (BDI, GAD-7 and MINI). Information about possible related risk factors was also obtained. Statistical Chi2 and Student t-tests were applied to estimate associations between socio-demographic, socioeconomic data and clinical results.
We found a prevalence of 15.8% for depression, 11.6% for ideation suicide and 38.5% for anxiety, with gender differences in the latter case. Prevalence rates were higher than those described in general population. Compared to other international studies, prevalence estimates were also higher among our sample.
This study shows for the first time data of these three psychiatric disorders among medical students in Spain. It suggests the urge to implementing preventive activities to alleviate maladaptive behaviors, academic stress, improve the quality of life and adaptation of students to college life. Larger, prospective, multicentre studies are needed to draw conclusions about the causes and consequences of students’ stress, since evidence shows that mental health problems are perpetuated throughout professional performance.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.