Addressing Barriers to Mental Health Among Medical Students

Endoresed in:

May, 2017

Paper Type:

Policy Paper


  • Maria Martin-D’Ippolito (NOSM)
  • Karishma Manji (McMaster University)
  • Shannon Willmott (Queen’s University)


Student mental health is a pervasive issue in medical education. Medical training is an undertaking that places the average student under significant pressure, resulting in increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among trainees. Despite greater awareness of the importance of trainee wellbeing and increased discussion surrounding this topic, many trainees face barriers that undermine their health and lead to a reluctance to seeking professional help. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of those barriers, specifically to dispel any misconceptions that accessing resources may have a detrimental effect on a medical trainee’s career.


  • Identify barriers to and dispel myths regarding access to mental health resources (as discussed in this paper).
  • Identify and then implement institutional and cultural changes within the medical profession and trainee environments that better support student mental health.
  • Ensure that students are aware of and are comfortable accessing available resources when needed.