you see yourself, how you interact with others, etc. ➤ Mental health is important!! ➤ Mental illness, mental health problems: factors (situational, clinical/biological/chronic) that get in the way of your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing ➤ Why should we discuss this? ➤ While individual mental wellbeing is very personal, a community has a responsibility for its ‘climate’ and towards its members WHAT DOES “MENTAL WELLBEING” OR “MENTAL HEALTH” MEAN?
Regular routine has gone completely out the window ➤ Stuck at home, sometimes with roommates ➤ Children are home too; homeschooling ➤ Hard if not impossible to visit family ➤ Can’t/very diﬃcult to see friends in person ➤ Only changes of scenery are from room to room of house/ﬂat ➤ Usual coping mechanisms for stressful times are not available ➤ Depression, anxiety, and sometimes homesickness are on the rise ➤ The academic job market is going to be horriﬁc for YEARS (I swear we had only just recovered from 2008)
of depression and anxiety soar among US grad students during pandemic” (Nature career news, Aug 2020). Out of more than 15k grads: ➤ Indications of anxiety rose 50% compared to last year ➤ 39% screened positive for anxiety disorders ➤ 32% screened positive for major depression ➤ Depression more common in students in physical sciences ➤ “As the pandemic erodes grad student mental health, academics sound the alarm” (Science careers article, Sept 2020). Out of 4,000 US STEM grads: ➤ 40% meet criteria for generalized anxiety disorder ➤ 37% meet criteria for major depressive disorder
in crisis: science cannot risk losing the next generation” (Nature editorial, Sept 2020) ➤ “Pandemic darkens postdocs’ work and career hopes” (Nature career feature, Sept 2020) ➤ Out of 7,670 int’l postdocs surveyed: ➤ 61% think the pandemic has worsened their career prospects, another 25% aren’t sure if it has or not ➤ 23% have sought help for anxiety or depression caused by work, another 26% would like to seek help ➤ 51% are considering leaving academia because of work- related mental health concerns
needs a reality check: Life is not back to normal” (Science careers article, Aug 2020) ➤ Resources from int’l working scientists on how to cope with the coronavirus’ impact on scientiﬁc careers (Nature collection, June-Sept 2020)(Science Letters to the Editor, June- Sept 2020), featuring: ➤ Solo parenting ➤ Fieldwork/travel requirements for work ➤ What conferences may look like in the post-COVID future ➤ How pandemics create inequality and amplify oppression ➤ Can we use this chaos to “ﬁx” academia?
sessions for grad students, postdocs, profs, staﬀ, etc. & family ➤ Can meet with them to help get set up with a regular therapist outside of MSU services ➤ Counseling center at Olin Health Center (for enrolled students including grad students): best for at-risk/crisis, triage ➤ Website also has links to 24/7 emergency services like hotlines and a local domestic violence shelter ➤ Counseling with a “sliding scale” fee from HDFS at MSU ➤ Ask your GP for a referral to a therapist (insurance usually covers all/most of it; these two accept grad insurance, among others) ➤ Other support resources listed at https://grad.msu.edu/partners- in-wellness
water daily and eat a vegetable every day ➤ Make getting a full night of sleep every night a priority (8-9 hours) ➤ Take breaks to go for a walk; exercise regularly (yoga, pilates, jogging, etc.) ➤ I’m a few weeks into a Couch-to-5K program! ➤ Try not to rely on caﬀeine and sugar to get your energy, since you’ll crash soon after ➤ Enforce regular working hours. These will probably be diminished due to COVID; check with your advisor on expectations ➤ Connect with colleagues (don’t suﬀer in silence) ➤ Daily meditation (with an app like Headspace or Calm) ➤ Commit regular time to hobbies: cooking, gardening, artistic pursuits, ﬁber arts ➤ Read a book for fun! Abbie likes Bill Bryson and Terry Pratchett ➤ See a counselor/therapist regularly, take prescribed medication
water daily and eat a vegetable every day ➤ Make getting a full night of sleep every night a priority (8-9 hours) ➤ Take breaks to go for a walk; exercise regularly (yoga, pilates, jogging, etc.) ➤ I’m a few weeks into a Couch-to-5K program! ➤ Try not to rely on caﬀeine and sugar to get your energy, since you’ll crash soon after ➤ Enforce regular working hours. These will probably be diminished due to COVID; check with your advisor on expectations ➤ Connect with colleagues (don’t suﬀer in silence) ➤ Daily meditation (with an app like Headspace or Calm) ➤ Commit regular time to hobbies: cooking, gardening, artistic pursuits, ﬁber arts ➤ Read a book for fun! Abbie likes Bill Bryson and Terry Pratchett ➤ See a counselor/therapist regularly, take prescribed medication From discussion: Or don’t! If you do much better working when you feel like and taking time to do fun things whenever during the day, do that! Still have a convo with advisor and/or self about managing expectations. From discussion: Though very few people can do all their coursework in a ‘standard’ work day, it should not be an unbearable time burden. Talk to your prof about how much time you spend on their course so that they can shorten assignments, adjust deadlines, etc. as needed.
Distanced, masked, outdoors, in-person, very-small-group meet-ups ➤ Backyards! Walks together in parks! Picnic blanket/folding chairs in parks! ➤ E-book borrowing from library ➤ Youtube yoga/pilates/etc. ➤ Setting up a work-from-home environment that you genuinely like ➤ What did you like most about your desk/oﬃce setup on campus? What can you do at home to get the same result? ➤ Gardening/houseplants ➤ Netﬂix/Hulu/Prime video/etc. ➤ Adopting cat(s) from the shelter/humane society ➤ No doomscrolling social media late at night
is the next big coronavirus challenge”, The Conversation ➤ “3 research-based ways to cope with the uncertainties of pandemic life”, The Conversation ➤ “Tips for living online - lessons from six months of the COVID-19 pandemic”, The Conversation ➤ More good stuﬀ from The Conversation ➤ “The emotionally challenging next phase of the pandemic”, The Atlantic ➤ “The world changes, and we grow”, Inside Higher Ed ➤ “The problems with pausing the tenure clock”, Inside Higher Ed ➤ More good stuﬀ from Inside Higher Ed’s blog Higher Ed Gamma ➤ For scientiﬁc journalism about COVID, I really like Ed Yong’s writing at The Atlantic