That is particularly acute when the group leader is not able or willing to offer the support needed: it often falls to senior female postdocs or research managers. This Feature Article is part of a collection on Mental Health in Academia. However, that number rises to 46 percent among lower-income households. I'm just expected to fix the problems with no thanks or support, no one to turn to, and the threat of complaints if I don't manage it.". "I wake up every day feeling overwhelmed and I often have upsetting situations and almost no one to talk to about it," replied one early-career group leader. Some of us are lonely, but not all. And then there’s the practical impact. While there’s been ample discussion of the economic fallout from a global pandemic, the toll it takes on our collective mental health is harder to quantify. Many also gave advice about how to manage one's mental health (46.6%) and about resources that could be accessed (50.6%). ", "Only diamonds are made under pressure; good scientists are made with love and support.". "They don't know about it because their trainees come to me, not to them, with their issues. Things not sounding right? “We've been asking [the people who take MHA surveys] what troubles them—and remember, they're not all young—and they're telling us it's loneliness and isolation.”. This feature makes it particularly attractive in clinical settings where there is a lack of time," the researchers note. Family, partners and friends outside of academia were the main source of emotional support, suggesting that work issues spill over to the personal sphere and that institutions may be failing to fulfil that need. I receive no institutional recognition for this role.”, Overall, those new to leadership positions also emerged as a group with specific needs; compared to individuals at other career stages, they were more likely to find that supporting someone had an impact on their work and left them drained or stressed (Figure 3). Ultimately, no amount of training or awareness-raising can change the fact people may not have space, time, and emotional resources to actually provide support. Our results raise many questions, and we hope the community will criticise and build upon this work (see appendix 1 for resources). Individuals wishing to find resources for their supporting roles can refer to the list we have curated in our report. The UNESCO Director-General … ", "Due to the stigma of mental illness the situation was not disclosed to other members of the lab so I felt alone on my role. In the UK and Ireland, the Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123 or by email at jo@samaritans.org; in the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and in Australia the crisis service Lifeline is 13 11 14. "Universities need to acknowledge this as work, for example in workload models, professional development or promotions discussions" said one university lecturer. "I am repeatedly frustrated by my (often male) colleagues' stated belief that 'there is no mental health problem' at our institution," said one female mid-career group leader. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation in July 2020 found that 53 percent of adults said the pandemic had a negative toll on their mental health. “For folks who are losing their jobs, this is excruciating.”. The survey responses paint a picture of in-depth, long-term relationships that involve several types of support and address a range of mental health issues – at least as perceived by supporters. This work received ethical approval from the University of Cambridge (2018-19/35). "I don't know if there are particular guidelines in place for assisting individuals who assist others with mental health problems. The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and there’s data to prove it. Mental health in academia: what about faculty? However, even seeing a doctor can be stressful during a pandemic. Yet only 3.6% strongly agreed that their institutions valued or supported what they were doing (Figure 5). Ensuring that all supporters – not just group leaders – receive help, training and recognition may be key to fostering healthy, positive relationships between those who provide and receive support. Describing mental illnesses as brain malfunctions helps minimize the shame often associated with them, Kandel says. If you can’t afford a doctor, you can try talking to friends (or even a therapy chatbot). There are no easy answers to solving mental health crises during a pandemic. We are not trained nor selected to do this work. And most importantly, for those who struggle, we hope they hear the voices of supporters who, in their open answers, reaffirmed their commitment to help, their sadness at seeing peers struggle, and their deep-set belief that, in the words of one respondent: "The presence of a mental illness does not impair an individual's ability to do great science.". These interactions mainly take place between peers at the same career stage – especially for PhD students and postdocs – or flow from an established to a more junior researcher (Figure 1). One postdoc put it bluntly: "They were being bullied and I thought I would get bullied too." A PhD student concurred: "I wished that there was less stigma associated with needing and getting help. (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools), (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services), UC Berkeley SERU Consortium Reports Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dancing backwards in high heels: female professors experience more work demands and special favor requests, particularly from academically entitled students, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0872-6. And indeed, supporters mostly turned to other people for practical advice, with friends and family being the first port of call, before colleagues. In fact, a number of respondents regretted not standing up for a colleague, especially in cases of abuse. Most people don't straight away,” Plotnick explained. An eLife survey explores the experiences of those who support colleagues struggling with their mental health. 62% of respondents identified as women, 36% as men, and 1.3% as non-binary, gender-fluid or two-spirit. "I wish there was someone to talk to who I can trust and will help me be a better and more supportive mentor. "It's a thankless job but somebody has to do it," said one postdoc. And clinicians need to get involved in experimental science. Ad Choices, It’s Not Just You: Everyone’s Mental Health Is Suffering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9454-2, Student Mental Health: The Role and Experiences of Academics, Mental health outcomes of discrimination among college students on a predominately white campus. It demotivated the group as others thought I did not have uniform standards for everyone.". Summary: Study shows a combination of human and artificial intelligence optimizes the prediction of mental health problems, including psychosis. in a department) to assess specific needs, create tailored solutions and evaluate the impact of interventions. Our mission; Blog; Theme group; NIAS Fellowship; Our mission. Conditions are ripe for transforming the U.S. mental health care system, with scientific advances, the growth of Medicaid and political consensus … I feel angry, inadequate and exhausted all the time. Put simply, if you struggle with motivation, mood, or daily habits, being told to stay home for weeks or months on end isn’t going to help remind you to get fresh air, eat well, or socialize. As a PhD student remarked: "It's important that this does not become a thing where people who are struggling need to out themselves in order to receive help. With those gone or reduced, it can lead to an increase in anxiety or depression symptoms. ", "It takes a moment of kindness for people to feel comfortable talking to you. Mental Health Science. Mental health was assessed eight times from age 11 onward. Failure to acknowledge that help is offered by many populations, including peers and non-academic staff, runs the risk of leaving a large proportion of these informal supporters without the backing they require. Supporters also provided practical help – often with work (41.7%) – and almost a quarter advocated for a colleague, such as requesting additional help on the person’s behalf. Read more about supporters’ experiences as lab managers, postdoctoral students, technicians, and their role in … By Roni Caryn Rabin 2020 Was a Test. The breakthroughs and innovations that … These supporting relationships were also not short-lived: most lasted for over six months, and about a fifth for over a year. Featured Video. The following selection of responses illustrates some of the main messages to emerge from the survey. A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about the pros and cons of using meditation if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. The majority of supporters somewhat or strongly disagreed with having felt supported/valued by their institution (e.g.managers, department) for the help they were providing. In particular, the factors which may predispose certain individuals to become supporters (such as gender or minority status), or which could make this invisible workload more difficult (such as supporting someone who is not helped professionally) should be carefully assessed. Elsa Loissel is an associate features editor at eLife, Cambridge, United Kingdom. We need other people, and while digital connections like Zoom meetings or Discord parties are great filler, it’s hard to be away from the people we care about for so long. Before the year was even over, more people were trying to find out if they were suffering from anxiety or depression than ever before. Mental health troubles are a natural reaction to an ongoing traumatic event like a pandemic. ", However, unless the root causes of poor academic mental health are addressed, these measures could, in the words of a respondent, be "sticking plasters" at best. Further analyses are needed to confirm these results and disentangle how these experiences emerge, interact and reinforce each other: yet these findings are consistent with literature on how gender influence academic experiences (El-Alayli et al., 2018; Guarino and Borden, 2017; Sprague and Massoni, 2005). 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