PCOM Highlights Student Mental HealthMarch 27, 2017
The second annual Student Wellness Week was held to help break the stigma surrounding
mental health issues often found among medical students. Events during the week helped
students deal with their rigorous academic schedules.
A study published in late 2016 in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported some sobering statistics about the mental health of medical students: 27
percent reported having depression or symptoms of it, and 11 percent reported suicidal
thoughts. What’s more, medical students were up to five times more likely to have
depression than those in the regular population.
“These students are engaged in pretty rigorous academic programs,” said Ruth Conboy,
DNP, a personal support counselor in the Office of Student Affairs. “The ability to sustain and model personal health and well-being is a skill we hope
to instill in our students, who will be tomorrow’s healthcare leaders.”
To that end, the College recently hosted its second annual Student Wellness Week,
a series of events and activities designed to promote health and wellness among the
student body by attempting to relieve stress, and break the stigma surrounding mental
health issues that is often found among medical students.
The slate of events included a pet therapy session in the Activities Center; a yoga class; a Quizzo competition; a healthy cooking demonstration with Budd Cohen,
director of dining services; and a jam session, where attendees were encouraged to
try out a new musical instrument.
Margaretta Gergen (DO ’19) is the current chair of SWATT—Student Wellness Academic
Transition Team—a subcommittee of the DO Council that seeks to advocate for the health
and wellbeing of PCOM students through activities, support groups and events. She
says events like Student Wellness Week can help bring personal health and well-being
to the forefront of students’ minds.
“School can get very overwhelming,” said Gergen. “Little things like petting an animal
can be a good reminder for students to take a step back and take care of themselves.”
In addition to events like Student Wellness Week, the College offers several resources
on its campuses for students to utilize, including yoga classes in the Activities
Center; a Meditation Room, located in Rowland Hall; a Student Relaxation Room, located
in Evans Hall; and counseling services, either through the Office of Student Affairs
or the Center for Brief Therapy. Students can also utilize Carebridge Counseling Services for an array of issues.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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