#VitaeChat: Wellbeing and Mental Health for Researchers

Read the summary from the #Vitaechat on Wellbeing and Mental Health for Researchers

In the UK there has been a lot of recent attention on the mental health of undergraduates but much less attention to the wellbeing and mental health of doctoral researchers - and even less on research staff. But doctoral degrees and research are stressful, and arguably doctoral researchers are potentially at higher risk of developing a mental health condition than undergraduates.

The academic culture of high-achievement and expectations of high workloads, not to mention feelings of isolation and the anxieties of fixed-term contracts, creates an environment where wellbeing is more likely to be at risk and doctoral researchers and research staff may feel less able to talk about their wellbeing and mental health. 

Not only can poor wellbeing and mental health have a devastating impact on individuals, they have the potential to affect researcher engagement, progression and retention, and can disrupt the training and development of the new generation of researchers.

To produce world-class research, it is essential for institutions and those who support researchers and doctoral candidates to provide a healthy and supportive research environment that allows researchers to flourish. 

Our carefully chosen #vitaechat panellists will point towards advice and share their experiences around wellbeing and mental health.

This is not intended to be a professional advice session but to discuss challenges and share experiences and practice. 

What is a Twitter chat and how do I participate?

A Twitter chat is a live discussion on a set day and time, usually facilitated by a designated person, around a particular topic. If you have never used Twitter or taken part in a Twitter chat before, there are a lot of helpful guides around (e.g. 10 Commandments for Twitter and Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities)

How do I join in?

  1. Log in to Twitter (you will need a Twitter account) at 12pm (UK time) on Monday 21 January 2019
  2. Search for the hashtag #vitaechat on Twitter and select the “Latest” tab
  3. Follow @vitae_news
  4. Our #vitaechat moderator (Dr Kate Jones, Professional Development Manager, Vitae) will post a series of discussion questions from @YetanotherKateJ
  5. Tweet your replies to the discussion questions and add your thoughts around the topic
  6. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #vitaechat to each of your tweets so that it shows up in the discussion stream

Why should I join?

Twitter chats are an open discussion, allowing participants from around the globe to meet and chat in real time around a shared interest. They are often fast-paced and exciting, with lots of different conversations happening simultaneously.

Benefits of joining a Twitter chat include the opportunity to

  • broaden your network outside of your usual circles
  • find out more about a new topic
  • be exposed to different perspectives on a familiar topic
  • offer advice, share your expertise, and contribute to a pool of knowledge.