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According to a study by the Flinders University, one in four Australian medical students has suffered major depression.

The unreleased report on Depression in Australian Trained Medical Students: Prevalence and Perception 2009 will be discussed at the university as part of the inaugural of Mental Health in Medicine 2010 discussion session for students.

Based on the survey of 1,000 medical students, the findings reveal the group reported significantly higher rates of depression than the general population where 1 in 10 has reported the condition.

Medicine students place great pressure on themselves to succeed said the Flinders Medical Students' Society who have expressed concerns about the study findings.

The group is conducting a half-day seminar for students to find ways to deal with mental illness issues.

Chairperson of the event, Minh Nguyen said, With their tremendous study load, medical students have a lot of strain on their personal and family lives, as well as their physical and mental well-being.

Two-thirds of the study participants reported they would feel ashamed about their depression and about 62 per cent would not confide in anyone if they were diagnosed, revealed the study findings.

Primary factors that leave medical students more prone to depression and other mental problems include time pressures, competitive nature of the field of their studies, and the unsupportive nature of the medical culture, said Mr Nguyen.

Professor Patrick McGorry, 2010 Australian of the year will be attending the Australian-first conference, along with the lead study author Dr Tran Nguyen.