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Inicio Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría (English Edition) Mental health studies in medical students in the context of COVID-19
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Vol. 49. Issue 4.
Pages 223-224 (October - December 2020)
Vol. 49. Issue 4.
Pages 223-224 (October - December 2020)
Letter to the Editor
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Mental health studies in medical students in the context of COVID-19
Estudios de salud mental en estudiantes de Medicina en el contexto de la COVID-19
Pilar Violeta Morote-Jayacca,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Kenyo Delfín Sandovala, Melissa Moreno-Molinaa, Álvaro Taype-Rondanb
a Escuela Profesional de Medicina Humana, Sociedad Científica Medico Estudiantil San Cristóbal-SOCIMESC, Universidad Nacional de San Cristóbal de Huamanga (UNSCH), Ayacucho, Peru
b Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Unidad de Investigación para la Generación y síntesis de Evidencias en Salud, Lima, Peru
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Tables (1)
Table 1. Characteristics of the studies found.
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Dear Editor,

While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people's mental health in general, certain groups could be particularly affected. One of these groups would be medical students, who not only suffer from the usual stressors due to this new context, but have also seen their placements in health institutions delayed, will be exposed to significant risk when they start these again. and are being forced to modify their professional development plan.1

Considering the current context, to better train future doctors, it is important to investigate what impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their mental health, as well as what interventions can be implemented to minimise this impact. Therefore, the objective of this letter is to describe the research carried out on the mental health of medical students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 21 June 2020, a search was carried out in PubMed with the strategy: [covid 19 "medical students'']. Studies were selected and their data extracted in duplicate. Of the 106 articles found, only 4 met our inclusion criteria. The selected articles were from China, Turkey, Spain and Vietnam. These studies were conducted between March and April 2020. Three are cross-sectional quantitative studies and one is qualitative. These studies evaluated anxiety, poor mental health, worries and fear (Table 1).

Table 1.

Characteristics of the studies found.

Author  Country  Population (of how many universities or cities)  Main finding  Type of study  Size of study  Variables (mental health) 
Cao  China  Students of a medical school in Changzhi  About 24.9% of college students have experienced anxiety  Cross-sectional  7,143 respondents who completed the questionnaires were included in the final analysis (100% response rate).  Anxiety - Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) 
Aker  Turkey  Students of the Faculty of Medicine at Ondokuz Mayıs University  52.4% of medical students reported poor mental health  Cross-sectional  1,375 students  Poor mental state (does not specify which questionnaire was used) 
Collado-Boira  Spain  Final-year nursing and medical students at Jaime I University (Spain)  The main concern of medical students was the possibility of becoming infected, being vectors of the virus in their homes and infecting their relatives.  Qualitative  nursing students (n = 29) and medical students (n = 33)  Uncertainty, nervousness and fear(does not specify which questionnaire was used) 
Nguyen  Vietnam  Medical students from eight universities in Vietnam  7.7% of medical students presented anxiety  Cross-sectional  5,423 students  Fear (FCoV-19S)Anxiety (GAD-7) 

The Chinese study reports that academic delays and changes in routine and daily family income have an impact on students' mental health.2 The Turkish study finds worries about the future.3 The Spanish qualitative study finds worries about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and not having enough knowledge on how to use it, and fear of getting infected and infecting family members.4

It is observed that there are still few studies on the mental health of medical students in the context of COVID-19. Longitudinal studies have not been found showing how mental health variables have changed before and after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Similarly, no experimental studies that are necessary to evaluate interventions aimed at improving the mental health of medical students have been found, although there are experimental studies of university students in general, using mindfulnesss,5 positive psychology programmes6 and other virtual interventions7,8 in the context of COVID-19. It remains to be seen whether these programmes would also be useful for medical students.

In the current context, it is important to rethink medical education not only to train professionals with the necessary skills, but also to minimise the potential harmful impacts of suboptimal mental health in those who are in training. Research on the mental health of medical students can help better decisions to be made in this regard and should be encouraged.

M.N. Ferrel, J.J. Ryan.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Education.
W. Cao, Z. Fang, G. Hou, et al.
The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China.
Psychiatry Res, 287 (2020),
S. Aker, Ö Mıdık.
The views of medical faculty students in Turkey concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
J Community Health, 1 (2020),
E.J. Collado-Boira, E. Ruiz-Palomino, P. Salas-Media, A. Folch-Ayora, M. Muriach, P. Baliño.
“The COVID-19 outbreak”—An empirical phenomenological study on perceptions and psychosocial considerations surrounding the immediate incorporation of final-year Spanish nursing and medical students into the health system.
Nurse Educ Today, 92 (2020),
Morr C El, Ritvo P., Ahmad F., Moineddin R. Effectiveness of an eight-week web-based mindfulness virtual community intervention for university students on symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression: a randomized controlled trial. ISRCTN Registry. Disponible en: Citado 25 Jun 2020.
M. Bendtsen, U. Müssener, C. Linderoth, K. Thomas.
A mobile health intervention for mental health promotion among university students: Randomized controlled trial.
JMIR mHealth uHealth, 8 (2020),
H. Blake, F. Bermingham, G. Johnson, A. Tabner.
Mitigating the psychological impact of covid-19 on healthcare workers: A digital learning package.
Int J Environ Res Public Health, 17 (2020),
A. Aiello, M. Young-Eun Khayeri, S. Raja, et al.
Resilience training for hospital workers in anticipation of an influenza pandemic.
J Contin Educ Health Prof, 31 (2011), pp. 15-20

Please cite this article as: Morote-Jayacc PV, Sandoval KD, Moreno-Molina M, Taype-Rondan Á. Estudios de salud mental en estudiantes de Medicina en el contexto de la COVID-19. Rev Colomb Psiquiat. 2020;49:223–224.

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