In recent years, psychiatry has no longer attracted medical students. This year again, 67 places out of the 547 offered to students throughout France did not find takers, or 11.5%. Faced with this alarming observation, psychiatry teachers wanted to know what representations are likely to explain this disenchantment by ordering a barometer on the image of the profession of psychiatrist from the CSA institute. “One of the lessons of this barometer is that psychiatry scares medical students,” says Professor Olivier Bonnot, president of the national college of university psychiatrists (CNUP).
Nearly four out of ten medical students say they are afraid of the specialty. An apprehension linked to preconceived ideas and stubborn prejudices which surround the specialty. “Stigma weighs heavily on the choice of medical students. They consider that the media treatment of psychiatry conveys a “caricatural and superficial” image of the specialty and contributes to “giving a dangerous image of people affected by a psychological disorder”,” underlines Maeva Musso, president of the association of young psychiatrists. and young addictologists. (AJPJA). This negative view of psychiatry is greatly improved when students have access to training that puts them in contact with people living with a mental disorder themselves.
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Another lesson from the barometer, for some students becoming a psychiatrist means that you no longer practice medicine. Which may explain why for 6 out of ten students this discipline is less prestigious than others. “This stereotype is spread by other specialists who often see us as super psychologists and not doctors. Which is totally wrong. Our patient care is comprehensive. That is to say that we can take care of physical pathologies such as diabetes for example,” explains Nicolas Doudeau, president of the French federative association of psychiatry students (AFFEP). And above all, he insists, being a psychiatrist often means working in a team with nurses, psychologists, educators, social workers, speech therapists, psychomotor therapists... “We also have an opening towards other non-medical disciplines, on social sciences,” adds Nicolas Doudeau.
This questioning of the medical nature of psychiatry is also accompanied by a discrediting of research in this field. For half of the students interviewed, research in psychiatry seems less interesting than in other fields. “However, psychiatry, particularly with the development of neuroscience, is a field where scientific literature abounds,” recalls Professor Olivier Bonnot.
To combat all these preconceived ideas and encourage vocations, the National College of University Psychiatry is launching a campaign