How can universities support graduate/PhD mental health? Here's some thoughts on what institutions can work towards today 👇#AcademicMentalHealth #AcademicChatter
1 - Acknowledge that the research culture plays a role 🏛️

The onus to improve mental health isn't just on the individual. It's time to acknowledge that the stressors at university impact grad students.
2 - Train PIs 🧑‍🏫

Promoted to positions of power based on research capabilities PIs often haven't been trained in mental health, like even for 2 hours. Providing basic training can help.
3 - Create targeted grad student resources 📝

None of the "how to deal with stress during your exams" because this is rarely applicable to grad students. Thinking about the key challenges grad students experience and tailoring the program can help students feel seen.
4 - Have clear bullying and harassment guidelines 🥊

And take allegations seriously. Abuse of power is not uncommon during grad school. It's important to not only provide safe reporting avenues but also act on them.
5 - Enable lived experience discussions 🗣️

Panel discussions, invited speakers actually talking about mental health within the department can help normalise the conversations around mental health and make people feel less alone.
6 - Treat graduate students like staff 🤝

Give them the same rights, like vacation days, healthcare of staff. It's that simple. Being treated like a human being does wonders for our mental well-being.
7 - Encourage and enable exploring "extracurriculars" 🔍

Providing time for personal development is essential. Many grad students won't continue in academia so being given the opportunity to explore what they enjoy/gain experience is important. This helps with the uncertainty.
8 - Make sure healthy boundaries can be set 🛑

No-one should have to work 24/7. This needs tackling at the institutional level. Graduate students have the right to rest and recuperation.
9 - Set up a mental health committee 🧠

Enable students and staff to drive internal events and put the conversation about mental health in the spotlight.
10 - Survey your students 🔢

Ask the question - what do your grad students need? Are they struggling? Leading by data means you can truly improve things for your students.

What else can institutions do? Add below ⬇️

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More from @ZJAyres

17 Apr
Why did I leave academia? It's complex. It's 100% related to the culture of academia that I felt I couldn't stay. So here's a thread on why, particularly as a woman, with depression, I had to leave, despite having a good track record and designs on being a prof one day. 1/
The precarity of contracts. Honestly, the rolling from one contract to the next was crushing. Not knowing if I'd be jobless in a few months was too much. Combine that with my anxiety, and it was debilitating. I've since got a permanent job in industry. 2/
The culture of overwork. Feeling like I had to be constantly "on" all the time, and if I wasn't it was valuable time I could have been working on a paper to get ahead. Again with my depression (and quite frankly anyone else with or without depression) burnout was not my friend.3/
Read 10 tweets
1 Apr
Here's a thread breakdown of the recent @RoySocChem diversity data report 2020 as it pertains to ethnicity. Please go check out the full report.

Evidence is there that systemic racism exists in the chemical sciences. We need to do more for equity. Here's some of the report: 1/
Note: This is not a thread condemning the RSC but pointing to systemic racism throughout Chemistry as a whole. I want to commend the RSC by leading with a "data first" approach, because having a starting point is the only way we can enact change. There is a long way to go. 2/
All figures in this thread belong to the @RoySocChem report (link at the end of the thread). For this thread I've focused on the data for Black chemists to raise awareness. 3/
Read 10 tweets
1 Feb
Launching #100voices (Part 2)!

100 researchers, 100 #mentalhealth journeys over 100 days. Let's get the conversation started around mental health, exploring what peers, friends, and ourselves so often experience.

You are not alone. 🤝 #AcademicMentalHealth #AcademicChatter
We are going to discuss a range of different mental health experiences and show we can and do exist (and thrive) with mental illness, mood disorders, and mental health concerns in research environments. By talking we help break the stigma and create a safer space for all.
Please note, if you find this campaign triggering for yourself, rather than helpful, I will be taking care to post all posts using the #100Voices hashtag, enabling you to mute #100Voices in order to help you protect you if needed.
Read 67 tweets
28 Jan
PhD students often come to me with concerns they don't have skills for jobs outside of academia. You *absolutely* do. So here's a non-extensive (STEM-oriented) thread of some of them to remind you why you are highly employable 🧵: 1/

#AcademicChatter #phdchat
Project management 📝- every day you manage a huge research project. Yes you have help and guidance, but a lot of that guidance is driven by you - particularly as you reach the end of your PhD. This means you have the tools to manage other projects too. 2/
Resource allocation 👨‍🔬- Throughout your PhD you might order chemicals/samples. You will have a budget and have to consider this when purchasing. You liaise with senior staff for approval of purchases, thus you start to understand financial management of projects. 3/
Read 10 tweets
29 Sep 20
I've been asked why I care so much/do mental health advocacy for #AcademicMentalHealth when I've recently left academia. So here's a 🧵 #AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter #AcademicMentalHealth #VulnerableAcademic 1/
I experienced the lowest point of my life during graduate school. I've since recovered to full health. It has, however, left a lasting mental scar on me. I'd never experienced depression before that point. I do my work to try to spare people being where I was at. 2/
Speaking out whilst actively IN academia can be tough. I have no intention of being a professor (though I'd have been a darn good one), so the risk to my career is reduced. I therefore can risk being vulnerable due to the privilege I have to do so. 3/
Read 7 tweets
13 Aug 20
Academia is great. It allows us to think for a job which is a massive privilege, discover new things and stay curious. Many go through the system just fine. Let's not forget there are also a whole host of people that don't get through "just fine". 1/
There's the people that come out with their mental health far worse than when they came in. With nearly 50% of PhD students experiencing anxiety and depression (high above the norm) it can't just be put down to the individuals. The environment is absolutely at play. 2/
There's the bullied, abused, the harassed, the marginalised, the mistreated, who's voices get lost in the noise because they go elsewhere because they need references and fear speaking up due to power dynamics, or simply have to get out. 3/
Read 5 tweets

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