Mental Health Stigma Among Singapore's Medical Students

The stigma surrounding poor mental health in Singapore has been an issue for years; but awareness and understanding of mental illness are noticeably improving. However, for nursing students and medical students in Singapore, some elements of social stigma still remain. Thanks to a recent cross-sectional study, experts have access to more data about the way this kind of ignorance or intolerance affects young students in the medical field.

Definition of Stigma

According to the study, the definition of stigma is “a mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in an individual being rejected, discriminated against and excluded from participating in a number of different areas of society.” With this study, the researchers planned to find out how the discrimination and prejudice reveals itself among the next generation of nurses and doctors.

The Group of Participants

The study surveyed 502 medical students and 500 nursing students from April 2016 and September 2016. The participants included 71% females. All students were citizens or permanent residents of Singapore, but by ethnicity there were 75.2% Chinese, 14.1% Malays, and 10.7% Indians or another ethnicity.

Most Have a Desire to Help

The research team found that most healthcare students in Singapore generally feel positively towards those with mental illness. Rather treating patients with disdain or rejecting them, the students would be inclined to reach out and help these people.

The Remaining Stigma

However, the study revealed some prejudice and stigma. Around one-fifth of the participants claimed that they wouldn’t want anyone with mental illness to work with children, even if the condition was being treated and managed. This response is associated with the idea that mentally ill people are unpredictable or dangerous, that they might engage in behaviours that could put kids at risk.

The Importance of Nurses

Around 30% of the nursing students responded that they felt there wasn’t much they could do to help people with mental illness. They seemed to have a lower view of their role, responsibilities, and importance when compared with the medical students. It’s important for professors to communicate to the next generation of nurses about how vital their role is, and the amazing part they can play in effecting change in a patient’s life.

Mental Health in Singapore Medical Students

What about the mental health of the students themselves? According to the study, the students were hesitant to reveal anything about their own mental health. When asked if they would seek help for mental health from a psychiatrist in Singapore, around 30% expressed reluctance. This could be a warning sign, since medical professionals are often under a lot of stress and are themselves at risk for developing mental health issues.

Help for Medical Professionals with Mental Disorders

Are you in the medical profession? Even as you care for your patients, take time to care for yourself and your own mental health in Singapore. Visit a mental health professional in Singapore to discuss any issues you may be having with depression, anxiety, stress, anger, addictive behaviours, or other urges. At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, your visit and your treatment will be completely confidential. With the help of a trained psychiatrist in Singapore, you can get an early diagnosis and start treatment before your condition becomes worse.

You can always make an appointment at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore to talk to someone or make an appointment by calling 62509833 or submitting your details in our contact form .

Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic Blog Team

Source: The study can be downloaded here.