Conversations I Wish I Had

Get Help: How the myth of self-sufficiency fails PhD students with mental illness


Light shines through the central atrium of a spiral concrete stairwell, photographed from the bottom.

Recently a tankard of ink, both physical and virtual, has been spilled on the topic of depression and suicide. A significant portion of this, particularly on Twitter, was focused on identifying depression and convincing the afflicted to “get help.” The whole discussion, while well-meaning, seemed just as inane as the business plan of South Park’s underpants gnomes:

  1. Get help.
  2. ??
  3. Cured!

The advice dispensed by university-affiliated advisers and counselors to PhD students who find themselves in crisis is little more sophisticated than the 140-character exhortations percolating through the Twittersphere.

Assuming, of course, that a student recognizes that there is a problem affecting her ability to function, she will have a number of barriers to traverse. Fellow students will tell her she’s worn out and just needs a little exercise. Her advisor may dismissively remark on stress reduction strategy sessions provided by the university—but by whom? The advisor isn’t quite…

View original post 1,441 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 1, 2014 by .
%d bloggers like this: