A campaign to improve the mental health of medical students
Australian medical students responded swiftly and effectively to the increased burden of mental illness in the medical profession, which was highlighted by the 2013 beyondblue National Mental Health Survey.1 In 2012, medical student representatives from Australia’s 20 medical schools passed a health and wellbeing policy,2 then in 2013, voted student mental health as a top advocacy priority for the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), choosing to advocate for the mental health of all tertiary students through development of the AMSA Mental Health campaign.
The four key aims of the campaign were to: (i) decrease stigma and increase awareness and mental health literacy among students; (ii) promote preventive measures to improve coping strategies and resilience; (iii) enable and empower students to look out for their peers and take positive action; and (iv) facilitate improved access to and uptake of mental health services.
Our advocacy strategy targeted the general public through broadcast and print media, the medical community through medical literature and conferences, and students through social media and on-campus events.
University campuses are geographical foci for at-risk young people and are therefore ideal sites for implementing effective preventative and early intervention strategies.