Wednesday 20 July 2011

This month in the student BMJ

This month's sBMJ had two articles that particularly sparked my interest.

Firstly "People with disabilities face barriers to healthcare"* - a brief article on the first World Report on Disability produced by the WHO and the World Bank. Fine, it's stating the obvious, but even what's included in the wee article seems to suggest that the report will be worth a read. I'll give you my thoughts in a few weeks.

The picture alongside the article however (I'm not sure if it's from the report or not) is the standard wheelchair-user-disabled-logo, pictured at the bottom of a flight of stairs. It's strange because as you'll see if you follow the link, the cover picture is a blurred background with a hand holding the top of a white cane in the middle - quite striking, and not 'predictable'. (There's also an article in the grown-up BMJ, but I don't have an Athens account these and I've forgotten my BMA log-in, so I'll have a look at it later) It's interesting that they've used the phrase "people with disabilities", rather than "disabled people", as the second seems to be more then norm in the UK (I'll explain the difference at some point) but I suppose it is an international document.

(Incidentally, if you're tired of wheelies being portrayed as lifeless, genderless, boring symbols, check out Hannah Ensor's website Stick Man Communications - Hannah is a wheelie herself, and has a huge talent for showing the joyful and ridiculous side of disability. And she's a bendy like me!)

There is another article called "Under Pressure"**, about stress / mental health problems in medical students. It's really quite good - thoroughly outlining the situation, but also offering some examples of good practice under the heading "Preparation and Prevention". I'm really pleased with it. It outlines the spectrum of stress-by-high-pressure, to 'clinical' mental health problems, and deals with the issues surrounding both. This issue is really important, and I don't believe it is dealt with sufficiently at most medical schools. It would be great to have other articles of this quality on other aspects of health and disability specifically for medical students.

All in all, big thumbs up. Both articles managed to penetrate the current brainfog, which is an achievement in itself.

*BMJ 2011; 342:d3618 (this is the citation it gives, confusingly enough)
**Student BMJ 2011;19:d3678

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