The issue of mental health is a major public health challenge, but why is it that not many medical students choose psychiatry as a specialty?
This issue has a lot to do with the stigma that’s often attached to the profession itself. It’s not just because psychiatrists are paid less compared to other medical professionals. It’s also the nature of the field itself that makes it less attractive to medical students.
In fact, a review by Zaza Lyons, M.P.H. from the University of Western Australia School of Psychiatry finds that recruitment to the field has been consistently low. Although most medical students have “positive attitudes towards psychiatry” as a study, only a small fraction would consider psychiatric practice as a career choice.
Why is this so? What does this mean to professionals who are at the forefront of tackling mental illness as a public health matter?
The “problem” with psychiatric practice
Let’s first determine the root of the problem. In Lyons’ review, the studies she gathered pointed towards a number of factors that explain the negative outlook on psychiatry.
Apart from a lack of reward and recognition, there is also the perceived mental and emotional toll it has on psychiatric specialists. An article from The Conversation cited a study that sought to address the stereotyping and stigmatization of the field among medical students.
In addition to this, there is a perceived lack of scientific backing and foundation. This plays into the idea that psychiatric practice cannot be categorized as medicine.
Despite the negative and often cynical views that other medical professions have towards psychiatry, awareness of mental health issues is growing.
With the United Nations showing concern on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on mental health, there is a pressing need to provide psychosocial support not only to vulnerable individuals but also to health workers on the front lines.
Using new tools and approaches to break the stigma
The negative view of psychiatry as a form of medical practice may be largely unfounded. What is clear is that the field is undergoing continuous improvement and innovation.
With the support of community stakeholders and the use of new technology, psychiatric clinics are in the position to deliver personalized interventions to individuals.
Through continuous education and awareness, communities are viewing psychiatry more positively. Mental health is at the heart of community-building and practitioners have a valuable role to play in helping individuals overcome mental illness and lead productive and fulfilling lives.
With the advancement of communications technology and the development of new diagnostic approaches for addressing complex problems such as addiction and distress, psychiatry will continue to contribute towards social progress.
The times have changed and there’s an ever-pressing need to place psychiatry in the spotlight.
The role of Mid-Cities Psychiatry
The stigma on psychiatric practice is slowly eroding and that’s because practitioners have been keen on initiating valuable conversations on mental health.
On our part, we strive to create an environment where prejudice and false notions of mental health have no place. Mid Cities Psychiatry is committed to helping people regain their lives and placing mental health discussions upon a higher pedestal.
We don’t treat mental illness as something to sweep under the rug. We treat it completely through empathetic and high-quality care.
Give us a call at (817) 488-8998 to learn more.