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.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 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 offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to medically underserved populations in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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