More awareness, stats needed on mental health among PhD students

January 30, 2014

University Affairs blogger and York University PhD student Melonie Fullick suggests that there is a widespread growth in depression amongst graduate students that is surrounded by “a thickly-oppressive silence.” Fullick cites an intense workload, pressure to produce new and valuable work, competition for full-time positions after graduation, and personal issues as contributing factors for the growth in clinical depression in the field. She points out the lack of information on PhD attrition, and suggests that more statistics on why people drop out of graduate studies would shed light on some of these mental health issues. “I wonder how many students simply leave due to mental health and related issues brought on or exacerbated by the psychological minefield of the PhD process -- and how much of this is preventable,” writes Fullick. University Affairs