The Membership and the Executive Council of the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry, in recognition of the fact that:
Psychiatric disorders are common.
The annual prevalence of all psychiatric disorders, including addictions, is 30% in the United States (1). The lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorder in the United States is greater than 45% (2).
The disease burden of psychiatric disorders is high.
The WHO ranks depression as the second leading cause of disease burden in established economies, ahead of cardiovascular disease, and ranks all mental illness as the 2nd illness category of disease burden, ahead of all cancers (3).
Psychiatric disorders are costly.
Mental illness imposes on the U.S. economy an indirect cost—from lost productivity due to illness, premature death, and incarceration—of $79 billion a year, not counting an additional $99 billion in direct costs of mental health care (4).
Patients with psychiatric disorders and psychiatric symptoms are frequently seen in general medical and primary care practices.
Among patients who took their own lives, 70% saw a generalist in the year before their suicide and 40% did so in the month prior (5).
The complex skills of psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis, and management are not quickly learned.
The psychiatry clerkship must provide a full-time experience in the evaluation and care of psychiatric patients.
The psychiatry clerkship must be at least 6 weeks in length or longer.
This position statement was developed and endorsed by the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry and then endorsed by the Executive Council of the Association of Academic Psychiatry in 2005.