Why Graduate Students Require Mental Health Support

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Colleges are recognizing the need for good communication among faculty, advisors, counseling centers, deans, residential-life staff, and other members of the campus community. — Mitchell M. Handelsman Ph.D.

A worldwide survey has proved that there is indeed a crisis on mental health issues among graduate students. There are numerous testimonies regarding their struggles that lead to them developing mental illnesses; therapists on various websites like BetterHelp will agree on this. These results are hoping to change the way culture is preserved and if possible, make the life of graduate students a bit easier and less stressful.

A new survey was going around online targeted graduate students focusing on their Ph.D. degree. There are about 2279 respondents from 236 schools across the country. The questionnaires used are the ones used by professionals in finding out if a patient has some mental illness. 41% showed signs of moderate to high levels of anxiety, while 39% showed signs of moderate to high levels of depression. About one-third of the people who answered the survey are men, while there is at least 40% of female correspondents and 41% transgender correspondents.

The student’s mental health is also affected by their relationships and work-life balance. Almost all the correspondents have said that they don’t have a good relationship with their principal investigator. They are not shown support and value that they very much needed to get through the hardships of the graduate program. Also, more than half of the respondents in the survey feel like they don’t have the right work-life balance.

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…there have been major changes how people think about mental health and major increases in folks’ willingness to use mental health services. — Gregg Henriques Ph.D.

The data gathered serves as proof that institutions need to address these issues. There is little to no help provided for students that have a mental illness, and this is not just an isolated issue but is supposed to be dealt with in the whole world.

This study also shows that there are some severe problems in the academic industry. Not only does this pertain to one institute, but it goes more beyond that. The problem might be in the way institutes sets their standards, how they train their students, and if they provide the necessary care to students having a hard time.

On the brighter side of things, mental health is being recognized by institutes around the world and are making a difference by looking for ways to improve their methods so that students, faculty, and staff are mindful. Being pressured to be good and to reach the standards of an institute can be very hard, and we all know that not everybody is the same and it will take a lot of methods for each person to learn.

However, these steps do tackle mental health care on a small scale. It can be just in classrooms or at home where not everyone gets to listen and understand all about mental health problems. There must be another way so that this issue can be heard and be recognized by the highest positions in the institute so they can raise awareness and help make their schools a safe and comfortable place where students are stress-free and have no depression or anxiety.

Institutes need to step up and play a part in reaching out and helping students. Teachers in schools should assist their students, not just academically but also mentally. They are the ones close to them and can observe the learners. Being sensitive with the students can put them at ease and make them feel valued. You can be tough but at the same time empathize. This way, students can confide and trust their PI’s.

Developed through emotional attachment with other human beings, empathy is our ability to recognize, feel, and respond to the needs and suffering of other people. — Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D.

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Students should also help themselves and take charge of their mental well-being. If you feel like there’s something wrong, you must immediately contact a professional or even the school’s psychologist for you to be assessed and be reassured that you have help. Mental problems no only happen in school but could start elsewhere, but with the pressures of graduate school, it can worsen and develop into something worse. Always stop and pause for a minute to keep yourself in check.

Even students who have not yet developed or are not struggling from mental illnesses can still prepare for the worst. In life, whether you’re a student or an employee, there will be good days, bad days, and days where you want to pause life. The best thing to do is to know that this is possible and that you cannot avoid these days.

There is no perfect, but you can find a circle where you get lots of support for those days where you can’t continue. Family, friends, and loved ones will always be there to guide you and support you with everything that’s going on. Don’t be afraid to reach out and to ask for help if you think you are going through depression or anxiety.

Contact your health care provider and get yourself checked so you can avoid having a worse condition. Stay physically and mentally healthy and put on your best face every day and know that whatever comes your way; you can handle with grace.

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