Link Round-Up: The “Summer Slump”, Anxious Black Women in Academia, Berkley Mental Health Initiatives, and More

Once again, we’ve collected some links for you from around the web. Summer is well underway, and some of you may be feeling the stress of the “summer slump” addressed in the first article.

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The picture shows a sandy tropical-looking beach, with a hat and flip-flops in the foreground.

More Than a “Summer Slump”: How the Loss of Structure Affects Academics (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

While the lack of structure during summers is often portrayed as a perk of academic life, it can also be a source of stress and isolation, especially for those who live with mental health issues. In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, professors and graduate students share strategies on how to look after one’s mental health during this unstructured time.

For Anxious Black Women Navigating Academia (Huffington Post)

Graduate students who belong to racial/ethnic minority groups often face unique stressors, including instances of racism and the perception that “mental health is for White people.” In this personal essay published by Huffington Post, a Black woman pursuing higher education discusses the challenges of navigating both racial anxiety and the stigma attached to having a mental health condition. She highlights the need for more open conversations about mental health and lets other Black students know that they are not alone.

This is Your Mind ON Grad School (Berkley Science Review)

Published in Berkeley Science Review, this article provides a comprehensive overview of the various initiatives at UC Berkeley to address the unique mental health concerns faced by graduate students. Drawing from empirical data that quantified graduate student mental health needs as a pressing public health issue, Berkeley students and administrators have worked together to improve graduate student access to campus counseling services, encourage open conversation about mental health and wellness through peer support programs and continued empirical research, and make broad recommendations to improve the institutional culture. Detailed and well-written, this piece directly speaks to the importance of AMHC’s mission: to raise mental health awareness and provide much-needed resourcess for those who are struggling.

Taking Time Off Your Ph.D. for Recovery (Chronically Academic)

Taking a medical leave from graduate school can be a life-saving decision for some students with mental illnesses by allowing them to dedicate their full attention to their recovery. In this Chronically Academic blog post, Daniel Rough, who took a leave of absence from his Ph.D. studies to work on recovery from an eating disorder, shares several strategies in making the most out of a leave of absence, including keeping busy, staying connected, finding hobbies, and embracing change.

You may also wish to check out this earlier post from Daniel on AMHC!

My Voice (Medium)

“The truth is that I’m going to be a doctor with bipolar disorder, and I’m going to be OK”. In this personal account, a freshly-minted Ph.D. shared the overwhelming experience of managing auditory hallucinations and medication changes while preparing for her dissertation defense. Written with self-deprecating humor, the piece reflects the reality that many graduate students with serious mental illnesses have to contend with as they strive for professional success.

Collegiality and Disability (Chronicle Vitae)

Like those with physical disabilities, graduate students who live with mental health conditions sometimes need additional accommodations to support their professional work. In this Vitae column, Katie Rose Guest Pryal discusses how the competitive nature of the academic culture can make those who need accommodations feel like an unwelcome burden. She emphasizes that accommodations are not the same as “special treatment” – Rather, they are an essential ingredient of a healthy, supportive collegial environment.

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