Young researcher: on depression symptoms in 6th year medical students
Igors Pikaļevs is a sixth year student of the study programme “Medicine” at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and holder of the Boris Teterev Scholarship in Medicine. He has recently carried out research titled “Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in 6th Year Medical Students” (Scientific Supervisor: Asst. Prof. Sandra Gintere, RSU Faculty of Continuing Education).
The research was presented at the RSU Scientific Student Conference earlier this year. It was among the best research projects in the subsection Rehabilitation, Nutritional Science, Public Health, Occupational Medicine. The research results were also presented at the ResearchSlam 2015 contest.
Igors Pikaļevs on his choice of thesis topic: “I chose this topic because depression is a topical issue in the community, for my friends and relatives and for myself as within the last years at the university I faced the symptoms of depression and their consequences. To my mind, depression is a disease that has not been comprehended at an adequate level and regarded as a priority within our society. Depression during one's studies is a topical problem, particularly as it may cause negative consequences in one's personal life or career,” says Igors (pictured).
Depression is a very widespread mental disease, over 350 million people all around the world suffered from it in 2012.  According to research conducted in 2014, 6.7 % of people suffered from depression in Latvia within the age group 15 to 64. With regard to students, depression is more prevalent in those studying in medical, law and continuing education programmes.  Depression is associated with higher risk of various diseases and death.  The frequency of depression symptoms for medical students varies from 20 to 40 %. [5;6]
Within the framework of this study the author did not focus on the prevalence of depression, but rather on the frequency of the total of symptoms of depression that might serve as a basis for diagnosis. It was concluded that the frequency of depression symptoms is similar in the case of both Latvia’s medical faculties and around 34% of students suffer from depression (RSU – 34.1 %; University of Latvia – 33.3 %).
Women suffer from depression symptoms more often. 15.27 % of students and 3.61 % of those that are not university students suffered from symptoms of severe and moderate depression and were in need of medical consultation. For the past two weeks prior to the survey 13.3 % of students had suicidal thoughts in various stages and of various frequency levels, and 2.96 % of students thought about suicide daily.