Opinion Series: Mental Health in STEM

A woman in a graduation outfit

Image credit: Andre Hunter via Unsplash.

Sophie Berdugo (Editor-in-Chief) introduces a new series of Opinion articles discussing the challenges surrounding mental health among people working in STEM.

There is a serious problem with mental health in academia. Whether it be the dread of presenting your research, the loneliness felt when working on a niche project for so long, or the exhaustion of juggling multiple ongoing commitments and meeting deadlines, the issue is endemic. This is true from first year science undergraduates up to the Principal Investigator (PI) of the lab—the system has to change. 

This isn’t a revelation in itself. I do not know anyone who has made it through the PhD process unscathed by its impacts on mental health, me included. I have personally seriously considered quitting my PhD because of how much it was affecting me.

Given the prevalence and persistence of these issues, the Oxford Scientist is starting a new series of Opinion pieces to discuss some of these challenges in depth. We will be publishing articles with a range of perspectives, from the effects of burnout in STEM disciplines to the “imposter syndrome” felt by so many students and early career researchers. 

We would like to encourage you to pitch articles to this series. We welcome any pieces covering the topic of mental health in STEM, from personal experiences to perspectives on systemic challenges. 

If you are struggling with your mental health, there are various places and spaces you can turn to for support. The UK’s student mental health charity, Student Minds, offers help and advice. If you are a member of the University of Oxford, there is a University Counselling Service, which provides individual and group counselling, as well as workshops and a series of podcasts