COVID-19 – Specific Concerns

Disclaimer: We’re not counsellors/psychologist/other health professionals. Our only qualification is that we are also students, and so may have some idea how it feels. 

This is aimed at a general population and is not tailored to those who have a specific diagnosis of e.g. depression, anxiety, or even non-mental health related conditions. However, we know many medical students have also had a past or current diagnosis of depression and anxiety, there are also many with other medical conditions or close friends/family that have medical conditions and obviously, these add an additional source of stress and make this time even harder.

If you have any feedback on the topics here, please contact the relevant section author. If there’s anything additional you want to see, please get in touch with any member of our subcommittee or email Lianne at [email protected] We’d prefer email/message so we get a notification when it comes through, and so we are able to have a chat with you, perhaps get more details if required. However, we also understand that there are times people prefer to be anonymous, so here’s a Google Form.

Feeling any of these below? You are not alone <3

  • It is very understandable to have concerns about how this might affect your degree - around 200-300 people at the Medical School Town Hall to better understand what is happening with course and academic concerns dominated the COVID-19/Mental Health survey.
  • While the situation is much more stable now than a couple of week’s ago, we acknowledge there are still a lot of unknowns, and that it can be hard to cope with uncertainty.
  • Further information:
    • MD Community for updates. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already been eagerly following each of Helen’s updates and this is not news to you. Please be reassured that information is being relayed as soon as it is confirmed. It is just as problematic to give out false information and to later have to withdraw it, so it is very important that things are confirmed rather than sent out prematurely.
    • If you have specific concerns, get in touch with your year reps or Unit/Discipline Coordinators.
    • We also like these articles about dealing with uncertainty during coronavirus. The tips have slightly different approaches, but take a look and see what works best for you:

 

Content from Lianne Leung

(Based on feedback from the COVID-19/Mental Health survey requesting support with goal setting and planning)

  • It is understandably hard to plan when things are constantly changing, and when we aren’t too sure how the course or placements may be looking in the future. However, we can only do our best with what we’ve got!

 

  • A reminder that many people have said that when they started medicine, they had to completely re-learn how to study. We are just at the beginning of our medical careers and so now is the time to be open-minded, try new study methods and see what works best for you.

 

Things that work:

  • Find your ‘why’
    • This is very helpful in guiding how you write your goal, which will then guide your planning
    • This is also helpful in helping you stick at your goal after you’ve written it!
  • Set SMART goals:
    • This article guides you through setting good SMART goals https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm.
    • This is a validated goal-setting tool that helps make sure you don’t cheat yourself
    • Some examples of SMART goals
      • Today I will write my flashcards for Parkinson disease.
      • In the next 20 minutes, I will work through this case discussion.
    • Some examples of not-SMART goals
      • Today I will learn cardiology
    • Remind yourself of the difference between short-term goals and long-term goals. It is optimal when they line up, and when the short-term goals are small building blocks to your longer term ones.
  • Be organised
    • There are varying levels of this amongst our diverse cohort, from those that thrive on the last minute to those that systematically, methodically work their way through assignments. Whatever the case, have a way to make sure you know what your deadlines are, be they self-imposed goal deadlines or assignment or exam dates.
    • It really helps to set SMART goals when you know how much you need to do and how much time you have to do it all in!
    • Some people love a diary, a plain notebook, some use a digital calendar, some use an app -- there are many options out there! How you do it is not important, the bit that matters is whether it helps you or not.
  • Plan in time to eat, sleep and exercise. Contrary to popular belief, medical students have human needs too. Home isolation is a great opportunity to build some new, healthy habits.

 

Things that may or may not work, but you may like to give a go:

  • Let friends know your plans - get them to help hold you accountable!
  • Physically write down your goals
  • Ensure you plan in breaks
    • Try a Pomodoro timer to keep you focused and to work in breaks into your day
  • Get some study buddies and split up the work amongst you all


If things aren’t going to plan...

  • Check in with yourself why that might be happening, and adjust things appropriately.
  • It does not mean that you are useless, a failure, lazy, or any other adjective your mind may pick.
    • Maybe your goal was unrealistic for the time frame you set.
    • Maybe too much time slipped away to social media, Netflix, kneading dough…?

If you’re unsure, you might consider talking with a trusted friend, or maybe talking with a counsellor or psychologist with UWA Guild Student Assist or the UWA Counselling and Psychological Services. Check out the I need help! page for getting started in seeing one of these services.

 

Further reading

  • UWA STUDYSmarter - they have a lot of stuff online.
    • They worked with UWA Guild Welfare Dept to host a workshop 'Get the most of studying from home' (51mins). Available here
    • A nice how-to study guide
    • They also have a tonne of resources on their website so take a browse!
  • Infographic from ReachOut Australia on setting goals

 

Content from Lianne Leung

It's completely normal to find you have trouble concentrating on everyday tasks such as studying when there are big changes happening in your life such as COVID. If you find this happening to you try to work through a little checklist: have you had enough sleep? Have you eaten? Have you moved your body? Is there something on your mind that you need to resolve first before you can focus on study?

 

If you have addressed all these things and are still finding it difficult to concentrate try the following techniques:

  • Try the Pomodoro technique: 25mins of focused study, 5mins break x4 = ‘one 4 pom block’
    • Ideally use the 5min breaks to stretch, refill water bottles, and google that burning question - don’t just scroll through social media
    • Between blocks can take 15 - 20 mins off
  • Take a look at the section on ‘I don’t know how to set good goals/how to best plan my day’ for more tips on effective study
  • Teach a friend
    • This is a great way to remember something super well and also have a chat with a friend
  • Remember often information IS going in, and you’ll surprise yourself when tested on the information! 

Most importantly don’t forget to be kind to yourself! Instead of chaining yourself to your desk and getting frustrated, take a break to refocus and give yourself some time to address any personal needs. You > your study <3 

 

Content from Emily Wishart.

(Based on feedback from COVID-19/Mental Health survey)

Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of social distancing is not being able to see and spend time with your family and friends. While it’s vital to do this to limit spread of COVID-19, it is extremely difficult and taxing on both yourselves and the loved ones you can’t visit.

While distancing can make us feel helpless, there are several things we can do to help our family and friends.

  • All of us know our way around technology like the back of our hand, but this isn’t the case for all of our family and friends. Older people especially, like grandparents, are less likely to understand how to pick up their phone or laptop and facetime/ZOOM their loved ones. If you can take to call any of your older friends or relatives and make sure they are connected, set up and ready to go to keep in touch with their loved ones you can make sure they feel in the loop and loved - no one should have to be isolated at the moment.
  • Further on this, don’t wait for your grandparents, parents or friends to call you! Pick up the phone every now and then and surprise them with your voice. They could have been having a bad day but not wanting to reach out and bother you, and now you’ve just made their day!
  • While most of us medical students are at home day in day out with plenty of spare time, our family and friends might still have to go to work. It’s a stressful world out there at the moment, so anything we can do to welcome them home is a nice gesture. This might be doing their laundry, cleaning the house or getting dinner ready for them.
  • Lastly, as medical students we need to make sure family and friends are keeping up their health and wellbeing - both physical and mental. This can come through encouragement to exercise, healthy recipes and also ensuing they keep medical appointments and seek help when help is needed. Frequent check ins about their mental health and how they’re coping with social distancing is always a good idea too.

 

Content from Ollie Dearsley

(Based on feedback from COVID-19/Mental Health survey)

If you’re not sure where to begin in having a conversation about mental health, here are some things that might help:

    • There are lots of guides online on ways to check in with friends who might be struggling
    • However, remember that these are just a guide. You know your friend/family member better than the author of that web page do, and will know best how to make them feel heard and valued. Sometimes, this is the most important part.
    • Some people may feel awkward asking people if they are okay, for fear they might have misinterpreted and be an annoyance - however, even if this is the case, most people appreciate that someone cared enough to check in on them rather than feel they were burdened.
    • It’s also important to remember that none of us are psychiatrists (not yet, anyway!) and that we need to recognise when we are out of our depth. Click this link to search for professional services to recommend to a family/friend. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/find-a-professional 

 

If you think they may be considering suicide, use Lifeline's three step approach

  1. Ask: If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly "Are you thinking about suicide?" Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will actually decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly and unambiguously.
  2. Listen and stay with them: If they say 'yes', they are suicidal, listen to them and allow them to express how they are feeling. Don’t leave them alone. Stay with them or get someone else reliable to stay with them.
  3. Get help: Get them appropriate help. Call a crisis line like Lifeline 13 11 14 or 000 if life is in danger. If you can get in straight away visit a GP or psychologist. Even if the danger is not immediate they may need longer term support for the issues that led to them feeling this way.

For more information on suicide and suicide prevention, see the rest of the article here

 

Remember that having these conversations can also be heavy on you, so remember to take care of yourself as well and put on your own oxygen mask 🙂

 

Content from Ollie Dearsley and Lianne Leung

(Based on comments in the COVID-19/Mental Health survey)

  • Our friends at Lookout WAMSS have compiled Give Back Guides, detailing local volunteering opportunities for you to help out within the Perth community
  • If you’re looking to help in more globally-oriented health issues, then check out Interhealth’s projects
  • If you’re looking to do Perth-based, non-medical volunteering, Guild Volunteering has been doing lots of social-distancing-friendly microvolunteering events, and also has a portal where you can explore longer-term opportunities.
  • For a even larger database of volunteering opportunities, check out Volunteering WA
    • https://www.volunteeringwa.org.au/#/

 

Content from our Lookout Chairs Elise Salleo and Kishaini Baskararao, the Interhealth Co-Chairs Amy Collins and Dinnu Devarapalli, and other links from Claire Breidahl

  • We’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.” - David Kessler
  • A lot of things have changed in a very short space of time. This has included a loss of many activities that used to bring joy and meaning into our lives: loss of placement, loss of seeing each other in teaching, loss of the social connection be it with our friends, or with our teams, or with our patients. The loss of certainty about many aspects of our course. Not to mention the changes in our everyday lives.
  • As of 06/05/20, gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, so remember that you can see friends! However, we do acknowledge that there are a lot of things that are still different to usual.
  • While the word ‘grief’ is often associated with death, it can be felt during any loss. 

 

  • Things that may help:
    • This article from the Harvard Business Review explores the concept of grief in a time of coronavirus, through an interview with one of the world leading experts on grief. I stole the above quote from it, though I must admit I was tempted to paste a lot more from the article here too!
    • If you’re looking for more Australian-based content, this article from ABC also explores grief, with input from an Australian professor of global health.
    • Both articles also talk about things that can help in coping with this type of grief.
    • We’d also recommend you take a look at the main Help; COVID-19 page for general tips for self-care and coping.
    • You got this <3

 

Content from Lianne Leung

  • In a time when we are literally physically isolated from each other, when we are encouraged not to see our friends, it is very understandable why you might feel this way.
  • In the COVID/Mental Health survey, we also saw people reporting concerns friendships made earlier this year are more difficult to maintain without the daily social interaction in-person learning would give.

 

  • Things that might help
    • We’ve seen the rebirth of slow-mail, where rather than instant messaging, people have been writing letters to each other
    • Call a friend, be it voice or video call. Zoom tutorials aren’t quite the same as a good chat with a friend! Try add whatever would make it feel more normal for you, e.g. catch up over a coffee, or while out for a walk
      • Some people say they feel like a burden when calling someone. If this is you, consider whether you would find it a burden if they called you in return - most people would be quite happy to be supporting friends; we need to remember to extend this same support to ourselves. That said, if you’re looking to share an emotional burden, it’s nice to message first. We love this article about getting ‘emotional consent’ before conversations.
    • Join WAMSS and WMH events, or other events from other clubs and societies, and feel part of a larger community. Make sure you’re following our Facebook pages so you don’t miss when events are shared.
    • If you feel you have no one you can turn to, then perhaps you might feel more comfortable with a neutral third party or professional, such as talking to your Sub-Dean or with your GP, psychologist or other. We list out more options in our I Need Help! page

 

Content from Lianne Leung

  • Noticing that everything feels like an effort? Finding that even small things that didn’t previously get you down is now starting to take a toll on your mental state?
  • Lots of things can make someone feel more irritable than usual
    • Higher levels of stress and uncertainty is prevalent at the moment, and when we feel overwhelmed, this can make it harder for us to cope with the daily small things that may not have bothered us in the past. Chronic stress can lead to burn out, a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.
    • It might be a symptom of depression or anxiety. Around 1 in 5 medical students have been diagnosed with depression and one in six have been diagnosed with anxiety.
    • Poor sleep. Potentially exacerbated by or a symptom of the other factors above.

 

  • This is a sign to yourself to take a step back, to take a break and to refocus yourself.
  • Things that you might like to try:
    • Try and identify the trigger that made you feel this way. Maybe it was watching the news, or conflict with a friend or family member, or stress around uni work. Addressing this will help reduce this source of stress in the future
    • Protect your mental health
      • Stay connected with friends
      • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing
      • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods
      • Try to maintain physical activity
      • Try to establish a routine, maintaining a balance between work hours and breaks.
      • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing
    • Seek support
      • If you’ve tried the above and you’re still feeling this way, there are lots of people who are available to help.
      • Check out the I Need Help! page for UWA medical student specific supports.
  • For more information

 

Content from Lianne Leung

  • Stress eating is a common phenomenon, in particular, of foods high in salt, sugar or fat. 
  • It doesn’t help if your newsfeed is full of memes about other people stress eating, normalising this behaviour and bringing this to the forefront of your attention.
  • It also doesn’t help if you are trapped at home in social isolation, with less distraction from others, so tantalisingly close to the fridge...

 

  • If you have identified eating as a maladaptive coping mechanism for stress, congratulations, this is the first step to change.
  • Things you might like to try:
    • Try and substitute that behaviour with something else that might help. You could try meditation, exercise or talking to a friend.
    • Try to set a SMART goal to monitor your progress over time
    • It takes time to build a new habit and to teach your brain a new way of coping. Don’t get too down on yourself if it doesn’t happen immediately.
    • If you’re looking for additional support, consider some professional help such as from your GP, psychologist or a counsellor. For more information on getting started, see our I need help! page.

 

 

Content from Lianne Leung

With the loss of structure in our lives, and a lack of 8am lectures to wake up for, it’s pretty easy to suddenly be sleeping and waking up at whatever time seems to suit. A good normal sleep cycle is very important for many aspects of our lives, including mood, motivation, attention span and memory. Implementing a few of the tips to help maintain or regain a good sleep cycle will be greatly beneficial during this pandemic. 

  1. Aim to sleep and wake at a similar times 
  • A Harvard study concluded that it’s ok to go to bed at later hours and have a later start to the next day as long as you’re consistent with this.
    • Despite this, unless you’re a night owl, you’ll probably find yourself feeling fresher and more productive by committing to an early start to the day

2. 7-9 hours sleep is commonly accepted as an optimal range 

3. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, here are some strategies to help

    • Make sure to get some exercise into your day, Norman Swan, Australian physician and journalist’ recommends vigorous exercise in the early afternoon to maximise readiness for sleep
    • Try practicing good sleep hygiene. This includes: 
      • Winding down an hour before bed, avoiding screens half an hour before and reading a book/doing something that you find relaxing
      • Reserving your bed for sleep and sex (not TV, not scrolling on your phone etc)
      • Being careful with naps
    • Various sleep meditations and relaxation techniques are also a great way to bring on the snooze
    • Avoid turning to alcohol or other substances to help bring on sleep, they will be damaging in the long run
    • If you’ve exhausted all other techniques and are really bothered by not being able to get to sleep then it’s a good call to seek professional help

Further reading:

 

Content from Alex Brown

  • Just cannot find the bother to get out of bed. To get started on your to-do list, to even write your to-do list. Or maybe you can’t even muster the bother to do things that you used to like doing. (🚩🚩🚩)
  • Medical students are very driven, hardworking students - if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have gotten in. This can add guilt on top of the amotivation.

 

  • Know you are not alone in feeling this way and that it is very understandable to feel this way. It can be very hard to find the motivation after the social supports that are generally around to support your study, be it your friends at lectures, your tutors or your clinical team are suddenly taken away from you, when your normal study locations and routines are lost, and when the general state of the world is ever changing and uncertain. Don’t be too hard on yourself!

 

  • Consider whether this amotivation may be a symptom of a mood disorder, but know that just because you have this symptom doesn’t mean you have depression/anxiety/etc, or that you will develop it soon.

 

  • Things you might like to try:
    • Remember your why. Once you remember, you might like to write it down somewhere and put it somewhere you see frequently. 
    • Set small goals for yourself and celebrate achievement. Break those goals up into smaller ones if that helps. See the section “I don’t know how to set good goals/how to best plan my day” for more information on this. (this information was requested by other students in the COVID-19/Mental Health survey - you are definitely not alone here!)
    • Surround yourself with supportive people, and be someone that lifts up others as well - there is no need to force false positivity; indeed, there is great power in being able to appreciate even the little things, or those that can pick out meaningful points to give encouragement on. You likely can already think of someone you know that does this in your life.
    • If you just can’t shake the amotivation and loss of interest in anything, we’d strongly recommend you get some additional support, be it from your Sub-Dean, your GP, counsellor or psychologist. In particular, UWA Guild Student Assist and the UWA Counselling and Psychological Services are free services with staff who are very familiar with student issues. They are able to help with study concerns, and are also able to explore any potential mood or anxiety changes that may be influencing your motivation as well. Check out the I need help! page for more details.

 

Content from Lianne Leung

  • When many aspects of our lives such as study and socialising have been affected by COVID-19, it’s understandable to feel like your life is lacking meaning
  • However, there are so many ways in which we can find meaning in life
  • Common areas where people find meaning in their lives include:
    • Relationships with family, friends or partner/s
    • Helping others or contributing to a cause that means a lot to them, such as environmental conservation
    • Education and personal growth
    • Work
    • Recreational activities 
  • Identifying what gives meaning to your life is a great start to then explore how you can grow that sense of meaning
  • Some ideas include:
    • Doing something nice for someone you care about. This could be sending them a nice message, cooking dinner for your family, or dropping off a small gift e.g. some home-made biscuits.
    • Spend time (within physical distancing restrictions) with people you care about
    • Check out UWA Guild Volunteering or Volunteering WA for ideas and opportunities to give back to your local community - take a look at 'How can I help give back to my community?'
    • Reflect on why you chose to study medicine and the meaningful career that you’re working towards

 

Content from Claire Breidahl

  • There are a lot of things going on at the moment, a lot of uncertainties and a lot of questions going around about what is happening next. Those can get really stressful, demotivating and pressuring.
  • It might be overwhelming and frightening to be having these thoughts and feelings of ending your life.
  • Just by reading this, a part of you is looking for ways to live and to get help for the problems in your life.
  • Know you are not alone in feeling this way. It is heartbreakingly common in our medical student community.
    • In BeyondBlue’s National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students in 2013, it was found that one in five medical students reported suicidal ideation in the previous 12 months.
    • From the COVID-19/Mental Health survey of UWA medical students in April, we know that 68% of students felt that their mental health had worsened because of COVID-19, and 15% of students rated their mental health as currently less than 5/10.
  • Realising how you feel is the biggest first step to help find yourself again.
  • Know you don’t have to go through this alone: there is always someone to hear your pain and problems, and to help you keep safe. Don’t be afraid to speak up, to talk to someone or ask for help if you need. Remember that your life matters!

 

  • If your life is in danger, call emergency services 000.
  • If you need immediate support call one of the following numbers (available 24/7)
    • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
    • Lifeline New Zealand – 0800 543 354
    • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
    • MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
    • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
    • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

 

If your life is not in immediate danger, we would highly encourage you to reach out to one of the following people. We all have slightly different roles, but we are all here to help you through this.

  1. Talk to a friend, your year reps or WAMSS Mental Health - we’re not health professionals but we are here to listen and to support you however we can. Tell them how you feel and that you are thinking of suicide. Ask them to help you keep safe
  2. Contact your Sub-Dean - each cohort has a Sub-Dean responsible for the pastoral care of students. Whether it is an academic struggle or just looking for support, they are here to help you find a solution and direct you to any further services that can help you
  3. Talk to your GP. Mental health is a huge part of a GP’s job - they are trained to support you through this, and to link you in with any additional relevant services.If your regular GP isn’t open, check if they offer telehealth services, or check out the UWA Medical Centre (bulk billing) or the DHAS’s Doctors for Doctors list to find a new one.
  4. Speak to UWA Counselling and Psychological Services - UWA also offers up to six counselling services to students per calendar year. You have to do a ‘triage’ session so they can identify the most appropriate counsellor or clinical psychologist for you, but if you describe your situation/acute distress, they can expedite the process. You can make appointments by phone (6488 2423) or by visiting the Counselling services building. For more information, see here: http://www.student.uwa.edu.au/experience/health/counselling
  5. Find help from Guild Student Assist - Student Assist are a team of Social Workers and a Wellbeing Counsellors employed by the UWA Student Guild who assist students with any academic, welfare and financial issues they may encounter. More information on Student Assist can be found here: https://www.uwastudentguild.com/get-support

More details about each of the medical student-specific services are available in the I need help! page.

 

Further reading

 

Content from Fiona Iwansantoso and Lianne Leung

Specific Suggestions (from the COVID-19/Mental Health survey)

Here are your suggestions, and the WAMSS response:

More WAMSS MH online yoga sessions

We loooooved our live yoga session; our only issue is cost with running recurring events with an instructor. Would a streamed yoga session be as useful, or would people just do them by themselves? Whoever wrote this, and whoever wants more yoga, please get in contact and let us know your thoughts. We run the events for you!

Recommendations for mindfulness apps

Done! Find this on our COVID-19-Specific Resources page

Provide information about mental health resources

Also done! Find this on our COVID-19-Specific Resources page

More advocacy and pastoral care support

Please see the rest of this table for what WAMSS does in the advocacy space - we collaborate within WAMSS and with the Medical School, poring over your feedback and comments to try and deliver the best possible experience for you.  If there are topics you see missing, or if you would like to send through some additional thoughts/comments to what we are already doing, or would like to clarify anything, please do not hesitate to get in contact. We are here to represent students so it really does help to hear from you!

This is also why it is so helpful when students complete surveys like this, which help form the foundation of what we do and helps give solid data to support our advocacy.

Set up a mental health mentor system - someone you can talk to every few weeks to check in and see how you’re going

We could not agree more that it is important that people have someone to check in with and talk with.

However, we also know that for those that are struggling, it can be hard to open up if you do not know and trust them. Despite the availability of Sub-Deans, someone dedicated to medical student pastoral care, we see from the data here that few students go to them. We also have had low uptake of the UniMentor program within medical students.

Meaningful conversations occur when there’s a foundation of trust. We encourage you to check in with your friends (within medicine or sometimes better outside of it!) where this foundation is already built. These are your best support network, and are better than any mentor system we could construct. However, we understand that this requires students to feel comfortable having that conversation in the first place. See the above section on 'How do I talk to a friend or family member I think is struggling?'

That said, we are exploring some different options for  mentor system, especially for MD1s, following the feedback from this survey. This is a work in progress - please stay tuned for more information.

 

Information on how to support others - including friends and family

Really important point, as friends and family are the first people most turn to. See the above section on 'How do I talk to a friend or family member I think is struggling?'

 

More involvement from clinical mentors to check in with students

People have varying degrees of involvement with their clinical mentor. Some students may be more comfortable in doing this than others; for example, WAMSS has previously discussed how some students see their mentor as part of a professional network and may feel uncomfortable to discuss personal issues with them. As such, we would not advocate for an across the board recommendation that clinical mentors check in with their students in addition to the current requirements. However, if you feel this may be useful for you, we encourage you to get in contact with your mentor - they can certainly be a great source of support

Help with stress reduction and management

UWA Student Assist and UWA Counselling and Psychological Services can provide free, individualised support on stress management. Medical students show similar levels of psychological distress as other university students - these staff are professionally trained and are very familiar with supporting stressed university students! We would highly encourage you to take advantage of these services while you are still a student, especially while we are in home isolation

For more details, see the I need help! page for how to get in contact and book an appointment.

Information about how to get appointments for psychologist/counsellor

Please see the I need help! page for how to get in contact and book an appointment. All services listed are still available, albeit now online!

ZOOM or other online platform to connect with each other and debrief
Provide opportunities for online social interaction with peers - many are feeling isolated from each other and fear new friendships made prior to COVID-19 are being lost
More WAMSS events and activities - eg quiz nights

We are working hard to run meaningful, low barrier events that help students feel connected while physically distant.

See here for full list of events we've been running

Follow our Facebook page to make sure you don't miss future events
Western Australian Medical Students' Society
WAMSS Mental Health

Town Halls

We are definitely open to the idea of having more Town Halls. However, at the moment, with the tri-weekly updates from Helen, there is not as much information to be distributed and discussed. Should there be big changes/announcements in the future, we will gladly look into collaborating with the Medical School to run another Town Hall.

Information about how to help - volunteering, community work

We truly have the loveliest colleagues. Please see the section above 'How can i give back to my community?' for more information on this topic.

Free flu shots

SCGH, RPH and FSH are all running free flu shot clinics for healthcare workers which includes all clinical medical students (MD2 and above) with a valid WA Health number (eg. he123456). See their websites for more details!

Resources and information so far has been good

Communication is transparent

Good communication from Helen

Medical school has been supportive

Not much to comment from our end on these points; just want to note that your comments were read (and how we were glad to read it :') )

Regular updates are really important

More transparency about future plans

We agree. This is a point we regularly raise with the Medical School. At the moment, we are happy with the tri-weekly updates from Helen, and now with the updates from Unit/Discipline Coordinators as appropriate. Please do get in contact with your Year Representatives if you feel the level of information at the moment is still lacking.

Disconnect with medical school information provided and information from hospital placements

We're aware of some cases of this earlier this year. Our understanding is that there has been less of this as the weeks have gone by and the situation has calmed in Perth. However, if you do experience this, please get in touch with your Year Representatives (or Rotation Representatives, if your cohort has them) so this can be resolved as soon as possible.

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