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It’s time to examine the status of our undergraduate mental health curricula

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To the Editor: Review of undergraduate mental health education is timely, given the growing disease burden of mental disorders and the need to better equip doctors for their central role in treatment. Curricula should prepare all doctors with competencies in recognising and treating mental health problems,1 because these occur frequently in patients across all branches of medicine, leading to poorer outcomes.2 Curricula should also prepare a minority of doctors for specialist psychiatry training.1

Review of practices is particularly pressing in Australia, where current medical school expansion provides critical opportunities to influence many training doctors’ competencies. Despite this expansion, published reviews and curriculum models are notably lacking. Australian medical schools, unlike those of other countries, have yet to agree on a core curriculum in undergraduate psychiatry, and delivery, content and assessment vary widely.3 These factors increase the probability of isolated curriculum development and inefficiency in preparing doctors with core skills. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has called for greater…