Raising Awareness About Depression Among Physician Trainees

Rahael Gupta, University of Michigan / Photo by Leisa Thompson

A recent University of Michigan study found that many doctors are reluctant to report or treat their mental health issues — a byproduct of some states’ rules that require physicians to report any mental diagnosis (no matter how mild or in the past) to medical licensing boards. So when University of Michigan Medical School student Rahael Gupta took a seven-month break to receive treatment for severe depression, she was advised by faculty to speak vaguely about her health problems when asked to explain the gap in her resume. But Rahael chose not to hide, and instead began writing and filming a video featuring more than 30 University of Michigan doctors, staff, and students reading a first-person script based on her own experience with depression.

The project, Physicians Connected, strives to inspire empathy and awareness about depression among physician trainees. “As an aspiring physician, I may be committing self-sabotage by telling my story,” Gupta wrote in an editorial published in JAMA. “I admit openly that I am just as vulnerable to the elements of life as are my future patients, hoping that others will do the same.”

Visit physiciansconnected.org to learn more about the project and watch the film.