You are not alone: Mental health and the PhD


Good morning blog pals and mental health proponents and welcome to this momentous day! Today is the day where we launch our shared stories of mental health and the PhD project! For those of you who don’t know the background, about a month ago I invited you all to send me your experiences of mental health issues which doing a PhD. I have been really struck by both the range of experiences which have been shared and the similarities between them.

Hats off to you all! The first thing I want to do today is to say a huge, enormous, massive THANK YOU to all of the people who submitted their stories. It is a really scary thing to talk openly about your mental health and you are all so brave. I understand that this is the first time that some of you have spoken (or written) about your experiences and I really hope that it has been an helpful experience. You are all fantastic! I also want to say thank you to all of you readers, tweeters, sharers and retweeters for getting the word out there. (Oh I’m getting a bit teary eyed!)

You are not alone. If I had to choose the single most important thing that I have learned from my own mental health issues, my experience of starting this blog and talking to other PhD students, it is that we all think that we are the only person experiencing these things. Isolation is one of the greatest problems that we experience, both in our research and in your mental health, and I think that it is so so important to break down the barriers which stop us all talking openly and honestly about our mental health and which contribute to this feeling of being the only one who is not coping. It might seem somewhat counter-intuitive for us all to talk about how miserable we feel sometimes, but within these stories I also see huge strength and courage and the feeling that it is possible to experience mental health issues and still go on to complete a PhD. This feeling of solidarity has been of great comfort to me and hopefully it will be to some of you as well.

Well, enough chatting from me! Here it is! You can view it as a presentation or zoom in anywhere on the image. It’s a bit tiny and I’m having some issues making WordPress and Prezi talk to one another so you can also view the project here.

Get involved! I really want this to be a dynamic project that continues to grow after today. If you are feeling inspired by the stories you have read and want to share your own, feel free. If you are one of the original submitters and you want to send us an update on how things have changed, or haven’t changed, that would be great too. You can sent your stories and comments to me at Now do what you do best and get talking and sharing.

2 responses to “You are not alone: Mental health and the PhD

  1. Pingback: Writing Retreats; or how a trip to the mountains helped me restart my PhD. | Jennifer M Jones·

  2. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Guardian | An Ex-academic follower of fashion·

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