Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support for Doctoral Researchers

Feeling low, stressed, or lacking motivation on a short-term basis is a normal part of the Doctoral Researcher journey. Gaining a PhD is a huge milestone and achievement, but it can also be an isolating and exhausting experience. Common anxiety symptoms can range from an inability to concentrate, procrastination or a sense of dread with an increased inability to sleep. If however these low mental health periods become more prominent and increase in severity i.e. a prolonged feeling of sadness, ‘brain-fog', or life starts to feel empty, try not to ignore these feelings, even though they may appear scary and overwhelming. We take the mental health and wellbeing of our Doctoral Researchers seriously, and support is available at City to help you manage these emotions alongside your PhD programme.

The City, Student Counselling Team are offering confidential 30-minute online meetings in order to help you determine what support and resources you might wish to utilise, for example potentially having in-house counselling with a therapist. Further information on services available to you is available on the Student Counselling Team site (Link above).

In addition, The Student Academic Development and Student Wellbeing Team have a dedicated Moodle site which lists available services for Doctoral Researchers such as The Student Health Service, to academic and study skills support. In addition, the Wellbeing@City MS Team site is an online community of special interest groups ranging from The City Cycling Community, Develop@City as well as a Remote Working resource, all open to both Doctoral Researchers and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). Finally, as part of the Researcher Development Programme, the Doctoral College also has a collection of mental health and well-being courses which you can study at your own pace.

With so many different avenues of supports across the university, it might feel overwhelming to know where to begin. With this in mind, the Doctoral College has a dedicated member of staff to help you navigate, sign-post and ensure you get access to the support you need. Please contact the Doctoral College, if you would like to discuss further.

Anxiety - Additional Resources

Anxiety is experienced by everybody in different ways. For some, they become restless with an increase in heart rate or sweating. For others, there is a feeling of unease, panic attacks might be frequent or an overwhelming sense of fatigue. Not being able to pinpoint the exact cause can also add to the frustration and fear. Whether you have generalised anxiety, social anxiety or a specific phobia or concern, the following services are available at City to help manage this. Please ensure that you have registered with a GP before you contact the Student counselling service.

The Student Counselling or Mental Health Team

Togetherall is an online community of peer-to-peer support, in addition to providing you with a variety of self-help resources and short online courses, you can also join an online community via peer-to-peer support groups. Select the option 'I'm with a University' and enter your City university email address, you will then be prompted to create an anonymous name to be used throughout the site.

Depression - Additional Resources

In its mildest form, depression can mean feeling low and lethargic or feeling miserable about life, but it doesn't prevent you from getting on with your day or completing tasks that you might need to finish. However, if the moods start interfering with your plans, the feelings of sadness are persistent or you find yourself withdrawing from family, friends or activities you once enjoyed, it could be a sign that you have depression. Speak to family, friends or contact the Student Counselling team, who can help you get the support you need. In addition, the following resources can also be useful:

The Student Counselling or Mental Health Team

NHS Moodzone has a useful self-assessment and diagnostics tool, as well as real-life stories to help you understand how you might be feeling.

Mind - for Better Mental Health has a really good overview of depression, and the different types of depression and well as providing guidance on treatment plans, self-care as well as resources for friends and family.

Relationships - Additional Resources

If you are experiencing distressing issues in your close relationships with either friends, family or partner and you are unsure who to speak to, please contact the City Student Counselling team or the following organisations will be able to help:

The Student Counselling or Mental Health Team

Relate is UK's largest provider of relationship support and has helped people of all ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities to strengthen their relationships. There is a free anonymous 24/7 confidential counselling service, which you can access either on live chat, text, email or via zoom. In addition, therapists are on hand to talk through concerns about domestic violence, sexual abuse or how to help manage difficult relationships. For Doctoral Researcher estranged from family, the organisation Stand Alone is a fantastic resource, which offers group support.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) - Additional Resources

For Doctoral Researchers who are GTAs, in addition to all the resources discussed above, you are also able to utilise services and support from the City, Care First programme. You can find a schedule of weekly webinars and activities listed in the staff hub pages under HR. However, Care First are currently also communicating the weekly offerings on the dedicated 'Wellbeing@City MS Team Site (under the Mental Health Channel).