Jake Goodman, a psychiatry student, is advocate of mental health armed with a plan to beat stigma and normalize talking about mental health.
Why did you choose to become a physician?
Growing up, I saw the devastating impact that addiction has on families. I knew I wanted to be in a position to help people on their road to recovery. I was looking for a career that allowed me to form long-term relationships with patients.
What do you hope to specialize in?
I am currently interviewing for psychiatry residency and plan to focus on addiction psychiatry and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Did you face any challenges in your journey?
My path to medicine was not a straight trajectory. The first time I applied, I was denied by every medical school I applied to. After graduating college with a handful of med school denials, I had a decision to make. Do I give up on my lifelong dream and find a job somewhere, or continue chasing my dream? I chose the latter. I decided to take a gap year and improve weaknesses on my application. I took 4 months and studied for the MCAT to take it again. That time, I improved my score significantly. I moved back home with my parents and got a job as a technician in the healthcare field. This exposed me to medicine and showed me what kind of doctor I wanted to be. In the end, I was denied by over 25 medical schools, and it took me nearly two years to get accepted. I promise you it was worth it.
What inspired you to start Mental Health Movement?
In college, my friend ended his life. What I’ve never been able to understand is how none of us saw it coming. Were there signs that he was struggling? Did he tell anyone how he was feeling? I’ll never know. In January, I started a social media account with the mission to inspire future doctors and advocate for mental health. As the year progressed, I began thinking more about the impact I could have on breaking the stigma of mental health. I had an idea. This idea culminated with a conversation with one of my best friends, Zachery Dereniowski (@MDMotivator). I pitched him the idea, and the rest is history. On October 10, World Mental Health Day, Zach and I launched our mental health clothing company, Mental Health Movement. Our mission is to normalize conversations around mental health to help people feel comfortable seeking treatment. Mental Health Movement merch sales also benefit mental health nonprofits. We donate a portion of monthly profits to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. This month, we launched the “You Matter Most” podcast, where we interview leading experts and mental health advocates who are doing their part to break the stigma of mental health.
How do you see social media impacting medicine now and in the future?
I believe that healthcare providers can meet their patients where they are at, and today, that’s on social media. Social media is one of the best places to combat misinformation, advocate for mental and physical health, and empower people to take their health and wellness into their own hands.
What do you hope your followers take away from your social media?
I received a message on my Instagram last week that captures what I hope my followers take away from my social media. This is what it said: “Dear Jake, I want to thank you for your videos on mental health. I’ve been in a dark place and your TikTok videos gave me the push I needed to finally seek help and talk to a therapist. Thank you for everything.”
What advice would you give to readers interested in pursuing a career in medicine?
If you are reading this, I want you to pause for a second and read this question: “What is your life purpose?” Read it again. Close your eyes and visualize what that looks like to you. What did you visualize? If it was being a physician and helping people in the darkest moments, then you’ve made the best decision of your life. Now, let’s make it happen. It may not be a straight trajectory for you, like it wasn’t for me, but you can and will become a doctor. I believe in you.