Mental Wellbeing for Early-Career Researchers

D57a02ba9a9ecb65d11370e3abf4dddc?s=47 Abbie Stevens
May 30, 2018
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Mental Wellbeing for Early-Career Researchers

Slides from a seminar and discussion I led at Michigan State University on May 30th, 2018. To download a pdf of the slides, click on the download button on the lower right of the slides.

I will occasionally re-upload a newer version of the slides as resources change. Latest update: 31 May 2018.

D57a02ba9a9ecb65d11370e3abf4dddc?s=128

Abbie Stevens

May 30, 2018
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Transcript

  1. MENTAL WELLBEING for early-career researchers Abbie Stevens alstev@msu.edu

  2. WHAT DOES “MENTAL WELLBEING” OR “MENTAL HEALTH” MEAN? ➤ Mental

    health: emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing ➤ How 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
  3. WHAT DOES “MENTAL WELLBEING” OR “MENTAL HEALTH” MEAN? ➤ Mental

    health: emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing ➤ How 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
  4. EXAMPLES OF MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ➤ Depression ➤ Anxiety ➤

    Stress, work pressure ➤ Burnout ➤ ADHD, ADD ➤ Substance overuse ➤ Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ➤ Grief, loss ➤ Homesickness ➤ Seasonal Affective Disorder
  5. 1 in 4 will have some kind of mental illness

    in their lifetime. Mental Illnesses. 1 in 10 Source(s): Psychological Bulletin, The Harris Poll, Haris Interactive, Nielsen, “U.S. Smartphone Battle Heats up”, 2011 DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, World Health Organization. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc. 1 in 6 More common than grey cars 1 in 4 Just how common is 1 in 4? Just as common as iPhone® customers. 60 Million Americans are affected each year. More common than left-handed people How can we fix it? Talking. The more we talk, the more we’ll realize that these illnesses are not unique and that they are treatable. It’s how we’ll make it ok. A public survey showed most people thought mental illnesses were related to: THIS IS STIGMA. STRESS LACK OF WILLPOWER WEAKNESS 1 in 7 More common than people with tattoos
  6. STUDIES SHOW ➤ Nature Biotechnology, March 2018 (covered by IHE)

    ➤ 2,279 respondents, 90% PhD candidates, 38% bio & phys sciences ➤ 26 countries, 234 institutions ➤ 39% scored in the moderate to severe depression range ➤ Compare with 6% of gen. pop. on same scale in same range ➤ Gender minorities had significantly higher rates of problems than cis-men ➤ (Lack of) satisfaction with mentorship/advising is a predictor of mental health problems
  7. STUDIES SHOW ➤ Research Policy, May 2017 (covered by Physics

    Today & Science) ➤ 3,659 PhD candidates in Flanders Belgium, 66% STEM incl. biomedical ➤ 32% at risk of having/developing a mental illness, esp. depression ➤ 51% experience at least 2 symptoms of mental health problems, and this is twice as high as comparable non- grad-school pop. ➤ Odds of mental health problems significantly higher for women than men ➤ Work and organizational context are significant predictors of PhD students’ mental health
  8. STUDIES SHOW ➤ Nature Biotechnology, March 2018 (covered by IHE)

    ➤ 39% scored in the moderate to severe depression range ➤ Compare with 6% of gen. pop. on same scale in same range ➤ Research Policy, May 2017 (covered by Physics Today & Science) ➤ 32% at risk of having/developing a mental illness, esp. depression ➤ 51% experience at least 2 symptoms of mental health problems, and this is twice as high as comparable non-grad- school pop. ➤ Gender minorities had significantly higher rates of problems than cis- men ➤ Work and organizational context (incl. satisfaction with mentorship/ advising) are significant predictors of PhD students’ mental health ➤ Also institutional studies at, e.g., UC Berkeley, U Arizona, U Amsterdam (‘FNWI’ is the Faculty of Science)
  9. UNIVERSITY & COMMUNITY RESOURCES TO PROMOTE MENTAL WELLBEING

  10. MSU RESOURCES ➤ MSU employee assistance program: 6 free counseling

    sessions for grad students, postdocs, profs, staff, etc. & family ➤ 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 most of it; these two accept grad insurance, among others) ➤ Other support resources listed at https://grad.msu.edu/partners- in-wellness
  11. MSU RESOURCES ➤ MSU employee assistance program: 6 free counseling

    sessions for grad students, postdocs, profs, staff, etc. & family ➤ 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 most of it; these two accept grad insurance, among others) ➤ Other support resources listed at https://grad.msu.edu/partners- in-wellness ➤ Ombudsperson for confidential advice about workplace conflicts ➤ Faculty Grievance & Dispute Resolution Office for workplace conflicts (for postdocs and faculty)
  12. PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY RESOURCES ➤ Talking to peers or a

    trusted colleague ➤ Grad student support Slack channel ➤ Talking with a mentor (in this department or elsewhere)
  13. PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY RESOURCES ➤ Talking to peers or a

    trusted colleague ➤ Grad student support Slack channel ➤ Talking with a mentor (in this department or elsewhere) ➤ At NSCL: Dr. Marsha Carolan, a licensed therapist, spends a few afternoons per week at NSCL and is available for free, confidential counseling to help NSCL employees connect with relevant resources
  14. WHAT RESOURCES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? ➤ Mandatory training

    sessions on mental wellbeing for everyone in phys & astro ➤ Mental health problems are proven to be widespread among grad students, and it’s reasonable to conjecture that it’s not rare among postdocs and profs ➤ Much is situational, comes from a lack of support from advisors & lack of mutual support from other grad students ➤ Learning appropriate work strategies
  15. WHAT RESOURCES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? ➤ Mandatory training

    sessions on mental wellbeing for everyone in phys & astro ➤ Mental health problems are proven to be widespread among grad students, and it’s reasonable to conjecture that it’s not rare among postdocs and profs ➤ Much is situational, comes from a lack of support from advisors & lack of mutual support from other grad students ➤ Learning appropriate work strategies ➤ Regular counselor like at NSCL, maybe monthly
  16. WHAT RESOURCES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? ➤ Mandatory training

    sessions on mental wellbeing for everyone in phys & astro ➤ Mental health problems are proven to be widespread among grad students, and it’s reasonable to conjecture that it’s not rare among postdocs and profs ➤ Much is situational, comes from a lack of support from advisors & lack of mutual support from other grad students ➤ Learning appropriate work strategies ➤ Regular counselor like at NSCL, maybe monthly ➤ Formally assign a second mentor/advisor to postdocs, to combat isolation
  17. WHAT RESOURCES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? ➤ Mandatory training

    sessions on mental wellbeing for everyone in phys & astro ➤ Mental health problems are proven to be widespread among grad students, and it’s reasonable to conjecture that it’s not rare among postdocs and profs ➤ Much is situational, comes from a lack of support from advisors & lack of mutual support from other grad students ➤ Learning appropriate work strategies ➤ Regular counselor like at NSCL, maybe monthly ➤ Formally assign a second mentor/advisor to postdocs, to combat isolation ➤ Organize support groups around known times of crisis (1st year with new environment & classes, quals, end of 3rd year with research but no results yet, final year with writing) ➤ “Buddy system” that partners incoming grad students & postdocs with current ones
  18. WHAT RESOURCES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? ➤ Mandatory training

    sessions on mental wellbeing for everyone in phys & astro ➤ Mental health problems are proven to be widespread among grad students, and it’s reasonable to conjecture that it’s not rare among postdocs and profs ➤ Much is situational, comes from a lack of support from advisors & lack of mutual support from other grad students ➤ Learning appropriate work strategies ➤ Regular counselor like at NSCL, maybe monthly ➤ Formally assign a second mentor/advisor to postdocs, to combat isolation ➤ Organize support groups around known times of crisis (1st year with new environment & classes, quals, end of 3rd year with research but no results yet, final year with writing) ➤ “Buddy system” that partners incoming grad students & postdocs with current ones ➤ More funding for the Counseling center at Olin so they can work with more students
  19. COPING TOOLS

  20. MY WELLBEING CHECKLIST FROM MY PHD

  21. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING? ➤ Drink enough

    water daily ➤ Make getting a full night of sleep every night a priority (8-9 hours) ➤ Taking breaks at work to walk around the arboretum or building ➤ Exercise regularly (yoga, pilates, jogging, fitness classes, etc.) ➤ Have an exercise buddy! ➤ Free weekly fitness classes through COGS ➤ Try not to rely on sugar to get your energy, since you’ll crash soon after ➤ Maintain your gut health with probiotics (someone’s therapist recommended this one for them; check with your doc) ➤ Get a massage every few months
  22. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING? ➤ Enforce regular

    working hours. More than 50 hours per week is unsustainable and has diminishing (or even negative) returns ➤ Connect with colleagues (don’t suffer in silence) ➤ Spend regular time doing hobbies outside of work ➤ Cooking with others, gardening, team sports, artistic pursuits ➤ Spend time with loved ones (family, friends, significant other, etc.) ➤ Daily meditation (with an app like Headspace or Calm) ➤ Read a book for fun! Abbie likes Bill Bryson and Terry Pratchett ➤ Take real vacations. Turn on your email auto-responder and leave your laptop at home! ➤ Turn off notifications for work email (& social media apps) on phone ➤ Don’t check your results before going to bed ➤ See a counselor/therapist regularly, take prescribed medication
  23. WHAT HELPS YOU WHEN YOU’RE IN “PANIC MODE”? ➤ Get

    up from your desk and go for a walk in nature nearby (link) ➤ Take 10 slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths ➤ Have a (healthy) snack and a glass of water. Your brain can’t work when it’s out of fuel. There is time for this. ➤ Listen to a music playlist that helps you calm down and re-center yourself ➤ Use “stress ball”-type objects (like a fidget cube) to distract your mind and give it something else to focus on ➤ Break down Insurmountable Task into many small bite-sized chunks. Write it all down and cross them off as you do them. Use an analog list so that you actually cross it off and not just delete the item digitally ➤ “SOS” sessions in the Headspace meditation app
  24. INTERNET RESOURCES

  25. LINKS TO RESOURCES ➤ Self-Care with Drs. Sarah, a podcast

    (see esp. the Meltdown episode) ➤ The Hilarious World of Depression, a podcast ➤ YouTube Yoga! "Yoga with Adriene", "Fightmaster Yoga" ➤ "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by Dr. D.D. Burns, a book on doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on yourself, recommended by therapists ➤ "The PTSD Workbook" by Dr. M.B. Williams and Dr. S. Pouijula, recommended by social workers and therapists ➤ "Living Well With Depression and Bipolar Disorder" by J. McManamy ➤ #PhDchat, #ECRchat, @chron_ac, @academic_chatter on Twitter ➤ Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 focusing on coping with stress ➤ "81 Awesome Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist" ➤ "14 Free and Low-Cost Mental Health Resources" ➤ "5 Things to Do (And Not to Do) to Support Someone with Depression" ➤ MakeItOK.org: conversation scripts, posters, stats
  26. ARTICLES WITH ADVICE AND PERSPECTIVES ➤ "I’d Whisper to My

    Student Self: You Are Not Alone" ➤ Wear Your Voice’s guide to destigmatizing mental illnesses ➤ "A Cartoonist’s Playful and Pragmatic Mental Health Guide"
  27. ARTICLES WITH ADVICE AND PERSPECTIVES ➤ "I’d Whisper to My

    Student Self: You Are Not Alone" ➤ Wear Your Voice’s guide to destigmatizing mental illnesses ➤ "A Cartoonist’s Playful and Pragmatic Mental Health Guide" ➤ "We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression" ➤ "This Is What It’s Like To Live With High-Functioning Depression" ➤ "Letitia Wright Opens Up About Her Struggles With Depression, Advocates For Black Mental Health Awareness" ➤ "Learning That Depression Lies: My Mental Health Management Strategy" ➤ "A Day With: Depression"; _
  28. ARTICLES WITH ADVICE AND PERSPECTIVES ➤ "I’d Whisper to My

    Student Self: You Are Not Alone" ➤ Wear Your Voice’s guide to destigmatizing mental illnesses ➤ "A Cartoonist’s Playful and Pragmatic Mental Health Guide" ➤ "We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression" ➤ "This Is What It’s Like To Live With High-Functioning Depression" ➤ "Letitia Wright Opens Up About Her Struggles With Depression, Advocates For Black Mental Health Awareness" ➤ "Learning That Depression Lies: My Mental Health Management Strategy" ➤ "A Day With: Depression"; "With: Social Anxiety"; "With: Panic Attacks" ➤ "How I Learned to Make Friends with My Anxiety" ➤ "Anxiety Is An Invalid Excuse" ➤ "How To Talk Yourself Down From An Anxiety Spiral" _ _
  29. ARTICLES WITH ADVICE AND PERSPECTIVES ➤ "I’d Whisper to My

    Student Self: You Are Not Alone" ➤ Wear Your Voice’s guide to destigmatizing mental illnesses ➤ "A Cartoonist’s Playful and Pragmatic Mental Health Guide" ➤ "We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression" ➤ "This Is What It’s Like To Live With High-Functioning Depression" ➤ "Letitia Wright Opens Up About Her Struggles With Depression, Advocates For Black Mental Health Awareness" ➤ "Learning That Depression Lies: My Mental Health Management Strategy" ➤ "A Day With: Depression"; "With: Social Anxiety"; "With: Panic Attacks" ➤ "How I Learned to Make Friends with My Anxiety" ➤ "Anxiety Is An Invalid Excuse" ➤ "How To Talk Yourself Down From An Anxiety Spiral" ➤ "Why ADHD Is A Feminist Issue And What Happens When It’s Overlooked" ➤ "10 Signs That Made Me Realize I Was An Alcoholic" ➤ "Can Science Save Us From a Failed State of Burnout?" ➤ "Impostor Syndrome Isn’t The Problem — Toxic Workplaces Are" ➤ "How to Define Success for Yourself" ➤ "How Do You Keep Social Media From Destroying Your Mental Health?" ➤ Really good advice columns like Captain Awkward, Ask Polly, Ask A Manager _ _ _
  30. ADVICE ON ADVISING ➤ "Modest Advice for New Graduate Students"

    ➤ “20 Warning Signs Your Professor’s Abusing You” ➤ “Good Advising” (written by a prof, for profs) ➤ What To Say when someone tells you about a mental health problem ➤ National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (MSU has institution access), productivity and wellbeing resources for researchers and mentors
  31. SELF-CARE ➤ "23 Ways to Treat Yourself Without Buying or

    Eating Anything" ➤ "Is That Self-Care or Self-Sabotage?" ➤ @tinycarebot and @selfcare_tech on Twitter ➤ "What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care" ➤ "You Feel Like Shit" - an interactive flowchart (also useful in a crisis)
  32. IN ALL OF THIS, EXERCISE CAUTION ➤ Non-experts (a.k.a., all

    of us) should be very wary of giving mental health advice ➤ Don’t self-diagnose (or ‘diagnose’ someone else) based on what you read on the internet! Seek out a trained medical professional such as a counselor/therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or your main doctor. ➤ People at all career levels in academia can have mental health problems and feel like they aren’t productive enough.
  33. None
  34. QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT ➤ Why should or shouldn’t we

    discuss mental wellbeing at work? ➤ What workplace climate factors could negatively impact mental health? ➤ What is missing from the “maintaining mental wellbeing” list? ➤ What is missing from the “help in ‘panic-mode’” list? ➤ What changes would you like to see on an interpersonal level to better support mental wellbeing? on a departmental level?