You’re Not Alone: Sharing of Anonymous Narratives to Destigmatize Mental Illness in Medical Students and Faculty

  • Rajapillai L. I. PillaiEmail author
  • Liam Butchart
  • Kathryn R. Hill
  • Zoe Lazarus
  • Rushil Patel
  • Lulu E. Yan
  • Laura J. Kenyon
  • Stephen G. Post
Educational Case Report

Medical students have a higher incidence of mental health problems than the general population [1]. This trend is similar among physicians and residents [2, 3]. Barriers to treatment-seeking include stigma-related concerns, including peer judgment [4].

Despite increasing efforts to destigmatize mental illness, negative attitudes towards mental health and help-seeking remain. One study found that students who experienced burnout were twice as likely to have seen a supervisor negatively judge a student who sought care [5]. Another study found increased stigma around medical students disclosing depression to friends and increased stigma around working with depressed classmates [6]. Medical students show even stronger stigma surrounding suicide, despite the alarming amount of medical student and physician suicides [7]. Finally, students’ negative attitudes towards mental health translate into patient care, with medical students having low regard for patients with mental health complaints [



Liam Butchart, Kathryn R. Hill, Zoe Lazarus, Rushil Patel, and Lulu E. Yan contributed equally to this work and are listed in alphabetical order. The authors would like to acknowledge Xin Chen, Nuri Kim, and Mark Levine-Weinberg for their help in organizing You’re Not Alone at Stony Brook.

Funding Information

Rajapillai Pillai’s graduate and medical education is funded by a grant by the National Institutes of Mental Health: F30MH109412.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Excerpts from stories found in this article were given explicit permission to share anonymously for publication by their respective authors.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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