Such stigma against mental illness is indisputably apparent in the US health care system and often has detrimental consequences on patient care. My experience became a fundamental moment in my own personal narrative, sparking an ambition to combat this stigma...jamanetwork.com, My Lie by Omission, Katherine A. Termini, MD, 2021

Approximately a year after my hospitalization, I resolved to continue living regardless of further hardship. The finality of this decision imbued me with a thirst for life and drive to improve myself, which became a pillar of my adult identity. The importance of my suicide attempt on my personal history became especially salient during college. I openly shared this background with peers, so my story could mitigate the misconceptions of those with mental illness. I hoped to convey that suicidal ideation was not the tropes portrayed in media; it was neither romantic nor maniacal.

When applying to medical school, I initially planned to share this story in my personal statement and interviews. However, I was advised by mentors to avoid the subject of my mental health history.

Determined to enter medicine, I reworked my personal statement and delivered one that was lackluster and unoriginal. I considered my lie by omission to be another hoop to jump through, like the Medical College Admission Test. I told myself that I could begin tearing down some of this bias once I was actually in medical school.

 

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