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Diversity and inclusion

Looking at mental-health issues in academia

08 Mar 2018 Matin Durrani

Academics are one of the occupational groups with the highest incidence of mental illness, according to a recent report on mental health in education by RAND Europe for the Royal Society and Wellcome Trust. According to the report, the risk of postgraduates and university staff having or developing mental-health problems is generally higher than many other working populations. In addition, the levels of work-related stress are comparable to groups classified as “high risk”, such as health-care workers.

The cover feature in the March issue of Physics World magazine shines a light on this problem through the eyes of one physicist in the UK. The story of their seemingly endless struggles highlights  how the academic community doesn’t neccessarily handle mental-health problems well, both in terms of attitudes at a personal level and the support offered at an institutional scale. Indeed, the physicist in question chose to write the article anonymously to avoid their problems being publicly known.

In the video above, I outline our rationale for publishing the feature and explain why it’s an important topic to cover. You may also wish to look at the “Resilience toolkit”, created by the Institute of Physics (IOP), which publishes Physics World.

Remember that, as always, selected articles from Physics World magazine will appear on this website over the course of the month, but if you’re a member of the IOP you can read the entire March issue right now in digital format.



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