Ph.D. students face significant mental health challenges.

Approximately one-third of Ph.D. students are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder like depression, a recent study reports. Although these results come from a small sample—3659 students at universities in Flanders, Belgium, 90% of whom were studying the sciences and social sciences—they are nonetheless an important addition to the growing literature about the prevalence of mental health issues in academia. One key message for scientific trainees that are struggling with these types of challenges, write co-authors Katia Levecque and Frederik Anseel of Ghent University in an email to ScienceCareers, is that “you are not alone.” Beyond…

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Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.

Mental wellness does not just impact us as individuals, it impacts our whole society. If we all took steps to take care of our emotions and care for ourselves in this way the world would be a lot healthier. Emotionally injured people hurt others and as I have gotten older I have learned how important it is to take time to heal. “When people started practicing personal hygiene, life expectancy improved by almost 50% in a few decades”, mental hygiene can have a similar impact. Fighting loneliness, equipping yourself with tools to handle failure, and protecting your self-esteem can make…

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Trying To Understand ‘What Made Maddy Run’.

Madison Holleran ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. She was popular and beautiful — and raised in a big, supportive family in a New Jersey suburb. “By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined — according to everyone around her — to do amazing things with her life,” says sportswriter Kate Fagan. And from the outside, Madison appeared to be thriving in college, too. But inside, she was struggling with anxiety and depression. Then, in the middle of her freshman year, Madison ended her life by jumping from…

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Depression and Art.

Why hello there! It sure has been awhile, but man has this summer flown by (thanks to full time work, summer school, running, and well more school stuff!). I haven’t had time to blog much or think about stuff besides physiology and finishing my dissertation. But luckily things are slowly wrapping up…just in time for more school to start…HAH! Luckily i’ve received word i’ve passed my physiology course but that gives me little time to celebrate since I still have to tie up the lose ends of my dissertation, prepare for my next runs and moving back to school…. Tis…the…

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Breathe.

Lately I have been anxious: unbearably anxious at times. Maybe it is all of the impending changes in my life. The next nine months of my life. Reflections of the past year triggering flashbacks. Or maybe it is just my damn anxiety disorder, but whatever it is I find myself on almost constantly on edge. My heart has been racing and my mind has been chasing after random thoughts and barely formulated ideas unable to concentrate on the tasks in front of me. I am afraid of a monster I cannot see, of a future I cannot predict, of the…

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Meet the ‘doctors’ who will talk to you whenever you like.

Could health apps and chatbots eventually replace your traditional doctor? “Let’s talk about how you’ve been feeling over the past 30 days,” says Joy. “This will help me get a sense for your current state.” Joy probes a bit deeper, asking a series of questions: Do I feel hopeless? Do I feel restless? When I respond that I’m a bit stressed, Joy offers me several de-stressing techniques. Joy might appear to be my counsellor or my life coach, but the conversation I’m having is actually with a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track emotions and provide…

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How It Feels to Be Turned Away and Disbelieved by Therapists.

Shared with me by a wonderful friend, definitely worth the read. M ———————————————————————————————– Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Palms sweating, I found myself nervously fidgeting my legs and glancing at the clock. I had been here before, many times over the past decade, and increasingly losing faith. At the beginning the sessions seemed to help — you could talk about how you were feeling, what you were experiencing, and you knew the person sat opposite you would believe you.…

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Tragic case of Robert Chu shows plight of Canadian medical school grads.

After he was passed over twice for a medical residency program, after he quizzed university officials and career counsellors about the reasons for his rejection, after exploring his legal options and shortly before ending his life, Robert Chu wrote a letter. It was precise, but penned with passion. It showed the persistence the 25-year-old medical school graduate had demonstrated throughout his accomplished life. But he also expressed his despair at what he believed is a flawed system used to match medical school graduates to residency programs — the final, obligatory stage in a doctor’s training. Each year, a growing number…

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You Can Save a Life.

I realize this post won’t be for everyone on my friends list, but I hope it might encourage some of you to consider donating. I grew up TERRIFIED of needles, I was that girl that would cry every time I had to get a shot. I’ll be honest, needles still erk me, but I know that getting over my fears means someone else gives someone else a chance to live and that to me is a small price to pay. The Canadian Blood Services is in dire need of donations for the upcoming long weekend (ie. The goal is 150,000 donations),…

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Let’s Talk About It.

Empathy. Congruence. Unconditional positive regard. Addressing Katherine and Katy as their identities. Reflection of feeling and content. Putting aside my ideas of Katy Perry for an hour, this is a beautiful example of the humanistic counseling model. I don’t think I can emphasize how much talk therapy helped me when I was at my lowest point. The questions that were asked, the revelations I came to, and the tools I was given to help me move forward. I agree with Kathryn in that social media has made it incredibly hard to be real with one another. We all hide behind…

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The Numbers Game.

I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I graduated from Western! To be honest, I debated whether I should share these pictures because on some level I do feel self-conscious despite the pictures not necessarily being representative of how I look now. I added 5 pictures to showcase how far i’ve come in 4 short years mentally, physically, and emotionally, with the first picture being where I started from. There is a picture for each of the past four years. I know regardless of how I look in those pictures, it doesn’t take away from my character, my…

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Zelda Williams Gets Real About The Work It Takes To Manage Depression.

Zelda Williams is acknowledging some major truths about mental health. In an extensive interview with Teen Vogue, Robin Williams’ daughter talked about how she prioritizes mental health, what it’s like to be an advocate and the hard work it takes to manage a condition. She told the publication that one of the ways she focuses on her own mental health is by speaking about it openly. She hopes that by doing so, it helps people recognize signs of mental health issues. “I try to bring a lot of advocacy to the people who have maybe never felt their brain to be…

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