Name of the activity: Burnout Buddy

Country/NMO: Portugal (ANEM)

Program: Mental Health

 

Contact information: [email protected]

 Type of activity: Advocacy

 

General description:

Burnout is characterised by a triad of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and a decreased sense of accomplishment, leading to a state of mental and physical exhaustion related to work or care-giving activities. This is a well know problem all over the world and a priority in our NMO. However, in Portugal, not all medical schools have tools to deal with this issue. So, our goal is to advocate for places, in all portuguese medical universities, medical students can go to search for psychological help and be oriented by a psychiatrist /psychologist. To do this, our activity will be divided in two phases. First, we will gather information about all places, within the medical portuguese universities, medical students can go for psychological support and similars and write a document where all this places are mentioned. Then, we will design a questionnaire about knowledge portuguese medical students have about the previous places and, based on the answers, we will write a study. The goal is to provide data so that it is possible to advocate for all medical students to have access to places, in the universities, that provide psychological help. Our mission will be accomplished when we show the study results to the media and medical schools directors so that we can advocate for better tools for medical students suffering from burnout.

Focus area:

Mental Health among medical students

Problem statement:

Being a medical student takes a tool on you. Medical students have a lot of work and are surrounded by stress due to all there is to do and learn, not to mention the huge amount of extracurricular activities and compromises that also exist.
As stated in “Burnout in medical students: a systematic review”, burnout is characterised by a triad of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and a decreased sense of accomplishment, leading to a state of mental and physical exhaustion related to work or care-giving activities. This is a well know problem all over the world and a priority in our NMO.
The literature reveals that burnout is prevalent during medical school (at least half of all medical students may be affected by burnout during their medical education) and is associated with psychiatric disorders and suicidal ideation.
To address this highly prevalent condition, educators must first develop greater awareness and find strategies to address this problem, as it can lead to suboptimal patient care and decreased personal health and well-being.
Potential interventions include school-based and individual based activities to increase overall student well-being and also, giving the students a place to talk about their problems with a professional, with is what we aim for, by showing medical schools directors how students don’t know what tools are available if they need any psychological help. It is imperative that academic leaders make medical student well-being a priority.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

Our target group, as well as our beneficiary are portuguese Medical students, defined in the program text as “main advocates on mental health related issues, able to promote healthy styles and educate people, but also as a population presenting a strong prevalence of mental illness.”, in their duality of action in the field.

Objectives and indicators of success:

– Gather information about all places, within the medical portuguese universities, medical students can go for psychological support and similars, in 2 months.
– Write a document where all this places are mentioned in 1 week.
– Design a questionnaire about knowledge portuguese medical students have about the previous places in 2 months.
– Send this questionnaire to all portuguese medical students and analyse the answers with help from a statistic, in 2 months.
– Write a study based on the answers from the questionnaire in 2 months.
– Provide data so that it is possible to advocate for all medical students to have access to places, in the universities, that provide psychological help.
– In one year, give portuguese medical students a better and easiest way to seek help if their are suffering from burnout.

Methodology:

This activity is divided in two main phases. First, with the help from our workgroup in public health, we will find out all places in medical schools that already exist for medical students to seek psychological help, and we will make a list out of this. Also, we will understand how this places work (what are the conditions, who gives the psychological help and how, are there teachers involved, is their privacy and others). Then, we will make a questionnaire about the knowledge they have about this places, what they think of them and it they feels they need these places. After receiving feedback from teachers and professors that are specialized in the area, we will make the questionnaire available for medical students, via e-mail, and we will analyse the answers and write a study based on them. The final goal is to take this study to the media and medical schools directors so that we can advocate for better tools for medical students suffering from burnout.

Plans for evaluation:

I’ll make sure the list about places medical schools can go search for psychological help is done and correct and I’ll also make sure the questionnaire is done and review by specialists is the area. Then, I’ll check if the questionnaire has reached portuguese medical students (by the numbers of answers we receive) and we will invest in a strong divulgation of it. Finally, we have to make sure that this work is continued and the study is written and presented to all medical schools directors in Portugal, advocating for better places. The final mean of evaluation is knowing the extra number of places that were created in medical schools for students with burnout and the numbers of previous existing places that were improved.