A recent study reported that almost a third of Ph.D. students might have or develop mental disorders such as depression. The study has been conducted on only 3659 students at Belgium Universities and 90% of them studied sciences or social sciences. One of the problems would be that they struggle with challenges and forget to take care of themselves by acknowledging their problems and seeking help.
The study shows that 51% of the students that participated had at least 2 symptoms connected to psychological distress. A group of 32% indicated at least 4 symptoms and risked psychiatric disorders. Some of the symptoms were a state of unhappiness, depression, sleep deprivation, constant strain and losing the ability of overcoming difficult times. Mental health problems mirrored their difficulty of taking care of their family, going to work and also working on their Ph.D.
One of the solutions in controlling such mental illness would be having a vision of their future, seeing and having their progress acknowledged or even having a supervisor who will inspire them.
The assistant dean at the University of Kentucky, Nathan Vanderford studies mental health in academic students and saw that work conditions and a good future career will help with the students’ mental state.
Universities and other institutions or departments should provide their Ph.D. trainees with some support, in order to ease the stress while working on their studies. Also informing them of possible career inside and outside the world of academics will help them know what to expect for after they finish their Ph.D.
In order for the students to receive all the help, they need to go through the Ph.D. challenges and also keep their mental health, Pls should find out which are the students who prefer isolation, are anxious or are not good at following deadlines. Pls will refer these students to someone who is qualified to give the needed support.
The survey might have been conducted on a restricted number of people, from a single nation, in one continent, but Ph.D. is stressful for a lot of students around the globe and should focus on providing the help for students who feel like their mental health is at risk.