Link Round Up: Mental Illness and Race in Academia

We’ve collected some links for you from around the web. This week features several articles about the collective silence of mental illness in academia, and playing the “game” of race.

A stack of old, worn notebooks sit in a messy stack against a white background.

Shhh, We Can’t Talk About That: Is Mental Health an Academic Taboo? (The Oval Window – science blog)

In this blog post, Angela Mallard addresses academic identity and how it could be intimately tied in with a susceptibility for mental health issues. She quotes recent research on psychological wellbeing and mental illness among academics, and also draws our attention to a panel at an upcoming conference that will specifically discuss mental health in academia. 

The dangers of motivational clichés (The Thesis Whisperer)

In this anonymous blog, “Nevin” discusses the dangers of invoking familiar tropes and clichés to explain away genuine distress over directions and decisions that are no longer working for you – such as sticking it out with a PhD.

“I had read many accounts before of people becoming seriously anxious due to worry associated with their PhD project, but many of those accounts were written by people with pre-existing mental health issues. I had never had any issues like this before, but the hours that I was putting in to “stick with it” and to “persevere” were now beginning to take their toll.”

I wish we could talk more openly about mental health in academia (The Guardian)

This article in The Guardian shifts the focus from mental illness and university students to academics and researchers within the system, where the norms around discussing and supporting people with vulnerabilities may be less explicit and more stigmatized. 

When You’re ‘Too Functional’ to Have Your Mental Illness Taken Seriously (The Mighty)

Karen Lowinger writes about the unique challenges of living with a mental illness whilst being high-functioning. She also comments on the mental health profession slowly coming to terms with the nuances of high-functioning mental illness.

‘Playing The Game’ for Black Grad Students

Eric Grollman reflects on issues of race whilst pursuing a graduate degree that could affect the mental health of students of color. He provides some useful advice on navigating race in academia. He has some useful tips on things to pay attention to before you apply to a graduate program and what to watch out for as you start your PhD journey. 


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