Quoted: residency question about mental health care


Escape artist
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Apr 4, 2007
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I am currently filling out the forms required to start residency. On one of the health clearance forms, they ask about current/past medical and psychiatric conditions; the second question is whether one has ever seen a mental health professional (as well as why).

I have looked through prior threads to gain some perspective on this topic, though many times it seems that a question will be worded to ask if the medical/psychiatric condition would impair an individual's ability to perform as a physician. My health forms do not have this particular "impair" wording attached to it. In my particular case, I had an eating disorder in the past, though I was treated and have not had an episode for many years. I wrote about this experience in the residency application personal statement, and it was something that I often discussed on my interviews.

It seems that there remains a cautionary stigma against fully disclosing all mental health histories on such forms, and I certainly don't want to be labeled as "unstable" or "unfit" for service. However, given that I'd already talked about my eating disorder and the treatment I received, I assume this means I can't really skirt around the truth. Would you recommend that I fully disclose my eating disorder history, including my treatment with a mental health professional?

Thanks for your advice.

aPD can chime in here, but personally, I'd recommend telling the truth. Just be brief and to the point, no need to add details (length of treatment, medication use, etc) that weren't requested. But, I think it would be best to answer the question that was asked.

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Pastafarians Unite!
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Oct 11, 2006
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Agreed. Theoretically, your health intake form should be firewalled from your program -- i.e. if you hadn't disclosed your eating disorder, you could still report it here and it should remain confidential. Whether your health issues impair your ability to work is what the health office of the hospital figures out. Most of the forms with the "impair" question on it are those asked by licensing authorities -- in that case, your private health records (should) remain private unless/until they affect your performance. That being said, rules for each state are different.

So, you should absolutely be truthful here. You've already disclosed to your program anyway. Not being truthful could get you fired.


New Member
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Aug 15, 2013
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I know this thread is somewhat old, but I am
Hoping you still get notifications on replies. I too struggled with an eating disorder for some time and feel it is an important factor in how i became who I am today so I really want to include it in my personal statement. I was wondering what kind of response you got when you discussed it at interviews?