- Christopher Smithlast year medical student
- University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
The study of exacerbating and mitigating factors that affect the mental health of healthcare workers in a pandemic is important, but a separate subgroup in the clinical setting is omitted from the Gold editorial: medical students.1
Medical students share many risk factors with staff; they also suffer from a lack of personal protective equipment, and many of them have children. But students face unique challenges that their professional colleagues do not have.
Student income often depends on maintenance loans, and many report financial difficulties2 – identified mental health risks in pandemics. 3 It has been proven that strategies to enhance staff morale, such as pay in hazardous conditions, are not available to students, as well as limited extracurricular earnings of students. The potential was destroyed by the hidden loss of part-time jobs.
When the universities closed, student societies did the same, excluding peer support networks, which the editorial group identified as defensive. When the campuses reopen, it will be even more difficult for new students to establish friendships and find support limited by social distance or even the absence of physical lectures 45, which increases the likelihood of isolation and loneliness. For international students arriving in the UK, perhaps with a new language and culture, this will be an even bigger problem, especially if they are faced with a quarantine period.
Finally, the lock prevented me from saying goodbye to friends, marking important milestones, and dealing with the loss of loved ones. The expectation that young people will move further, emotionally and geographically, without interruption, can lead to a mental health crisis at a time when student services are already overloaded and, as you know, are not suitable for the requirements of health degrees – their location is a few miles from Universities and work in long shifts do not allow appointments. during working hours, for example.
As medical schools7 and students8 are preparing to resume work in clinical settings, it is imperative that students continue to receive job support and that mental health services are aware of the unique challenges these communities face after the war 19.
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