Mental Health in Academia

This started as a facebook post on things that have been bothering me and has expanded.

Creative people need to breathe in.

The best science is inherently creative, http://theoatmeal.com/comics/creativity

Mental health is on my mind (see point 7 here): http://www.vox.com/…/science-challeges-research-funding-pee… 47% of PhD students have clinical symptoms of depression, and most of them didn’t before their PhD. Many people in academia, and especially in mission driven disciplines, where they are also plagued by a sense of general urgency and lack of progress (e.g. when the land clearing laws were rescinded) are plagued by such chronic stress that it damages their ability to think – their most important asset. I suggested to a colleague that taking short career breaks to manage mental health -e.g. travelling, simple downtime etc. should be totally legitimate. He seemed somewhat cynical about the chances of that happening, and sadly, with justification – we can’t even get parental leave right. So this is my way of saying, lets help our smart, passionate people continue, by recognising and supporting decisions that contribute to positive mental health – before the depression sets in!

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