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Meghan Duffy @duffy_ma
, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I'm planning on carefully reading the new working paper on #mentalhealth of grad students in 8 top econ departments (including #UMich's) this afternoon. I'm debating whether to tweet while I read. Here's the link to the paper (by Barreira et al.)…
Ooh, the recommendations in the executive summary (which are aimed at faculty/grad programs) for how to better support grad student #mentalhealth are really good. I'm going to tweet them in this thread. These are all from the Barreira et al. working paper…
1. Encourage students to take on research or activities that provide a sense of meaning and usefulness to them in the short term. Help students hedge against failure.
2. Provide continuous engagement, making clear to students that someone cares about their success in the program.
3. Measure success in different ways to lessen feelings of job insecurity. Support students in preparing the best possible job market paper and dissertation regardless of the students' ambitions or career preferences.
4. Communicate with students clearly and frequently.
5. Encourage and empower student initiatives to improve work conditions and collegiality.
6. Make the coursework years as useful and relevant to the research years as possible.
7. Destigmatize conversations about failures, big and small. Destigmatize getting help.
8. Create a channel through which faculty can receive constructive feedback on advising. Encourage students and advisors to have conversations about the kind of advising relationship they would like to have.
9. If sensing that a student is having trouble, be patient, supportive and empathetic. Follow up with the student to show you care and to ensure that the student is getting the help he or she needs. Know what resources are out there and help the student access them.
10. Discuss failure with advisees early on and commit to being their supportive adviser first and their evaluator second.
11. Use the data in [Barreira et al.] to encourage students to access mental health resources. Partner with your university's counseling center to educate students and faculty & to publicize clinical services.
11, continued: Let students know their mental health and wellbeing is a priority for you and should be a priority for them.
Again, all of those recommendations are from this new working paper by Barreira et al, focused on grad students in 8 top ranked economics programs. But I think they apply much more broadly.…
This study seems like it could provide a model for how other programs could survey graduate student mental health. They had a 43% response rate to their survey of grad students! They also surveyed faculty (42% response rate).
"While the prevalence of mental health issues appears to be higher among economics PhD students upon entry into graduate school than in the general population, we also find evidence that characteristics of the programs themselves can make things worse."
"Though students seem to generally have a good grasp of the state of their own mental health, many overestimate how well they are doing relative to others in their dept...Of those who reported suicidal thoughts in the past 2 weeks, 26% thought they were doing better than average"
I need to pause my reading now to go have a meeting related to grad student mental health! I'm not sure when I'll get back to this (most likely not today).
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