While considering the issue of mental health in academia, it is important to remember that existing societal structures have a significant impact on the lives of researchers and these effects vary from community to community. In this next article in our series on mental health, Nazia discusses how trying to balance the expectations of a patriarchal society with their scientific aspirations affects the mental health of women in science and some possible solutions to this problem.
Studies suggest that prolonged financial instability can be a major contributor to mental health challenges. There is great disparity in the level of remuneration and financial incentives offered to graduate students in India, a population that is highly vulnerable to mental health issues. In this article, Joel explores some of the issues early career researchers face with regards to their financial security, and how these can leave an impact on their mental well-being.
While there has recently been a movement towards recognizing and countering the mental health crisis in academia, such conversations often fail to take into account the nuances of aspects like caste, gender/sexual identities, economic factors, and intersectionality. In this article, Sayantan examines the way the experiences of members of LGBTQIA+ communities affect their mental health and suggests ways in which the situation can be improved moving forward.
Some of those most active in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are also the ones most vulnerable to its devastating consequences on mental well-being. In this article, Raddur, an undergraduate student who volunteered at the frontline during the pandemic, writes about the effect of this unprecedented crisis on our mental health and a few small steps we can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Academic hierarchies have existed in more or less the same form since the beginning of modern scientific exploration, with students often constituting the bottommost rung of the ladder. In this article, Madhuri examines how such hierarchies can induce and exacerbate mental distress, as well as perpetuate a culture of bullying and silence, especially for those lower down in the hierarchy.