Link Round Up: Academia is bad for our mental health, and how to talk about it

Once again we’ve scoured the web for you, picking the best articles on mental health and academia. Have a suggestion for the next Link Round Up? Drop us a line on twitter or facebook!

A person with a hat reads a book on the grass in the sunshine. Beside them lays a small dog.

 

Mental Health: Caught in a Trap 

In this essay featured on Nature.com, Emily Sohn explores how various aspects of academic life, such as uncertain job prospects and publication pressures, can contribute to and exacerbate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Highlighting research studies demonstrating the prevalence of mental health problems in academia and personal experiences of academics who struggle with mental health issues, the author emphasizes the importance of addressing stigma and seeking professional help.

 

It Shouldn’t Be So Hard 

“After the cover letter and CV, there is probably no single criterion more critical to job candidates’ success than their ability to demonstrate collegiality.” While this statement would likely resonate with many academics, its potential to place candidates with mental health conditions at a disadvantage is rarely acknowledged. In this insightful column, Margaret Price, a faculty member at Spellman College, discusses possible strategies to make the campus interview experience more accessible to candidates with diverse abilities. She also encourages the academic community to reflect on whether our “continued use of social spaces to test scholarly merit” is justified and what criteria we really want to use  to assess job candidates in the hiring process.

 

The Conversations We Don’t Have But Should 

While we often think of depression as extreme sadness in response to difficult life experiences, it can also manifest itself as a sudden loss of pleasure, energy, and motivation. In this blog post, a graduate student at McGill University shares her experiences with depression even when everything is apparently going well in her professional and personal life. She emphasizes the importance of making mental health a part of normal conversations and encourages those who are struggling to reach out for help.

 

How Do You Finish a PHD When, As a Working Class Student, You Don’t Feel You Belong? 

Academic success often depends on individuals’ assertiveness and confidence, qualities that can be difficult to come by for students who do not feel they belong in higher education. In this personal account featured on the Guardian, a graduate student from a working-class background shares their academic and mental health struggles in a doctoral program despite others’ encouragement and support.

 

Is Peer Review Bad for Your Mental Health? 

“Amidst fears of a mental health crisis in higher education, to what extent is the peer review process a contributing factor? It’s a process fraught with uncertainty, as authors try to forge something constructive from often mixed feedback or occasionally downright unhelpful comments. Helen Kara stresses the importance of being aware of the effects of uncertainty and taking steps to reduce its impact. Focus on what you can control, prepare for different outcomes, acknowledge how you’re feeling, and make sure to practise self-care.”

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