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Graduate Student Mental Health

Meet this week's Grad Chat guest: Susanna L Harris, PhD!

Promotional Graphic, text reads Graduate Student Mental Health, # Grad Chat by PhD Balance. There are two headshots one of Liesl, the host & one of Susanna, the guest.

Susanna L. Harris (she/her, @susannalharris) founded PhD Balance in 2018 as a grad student. During her fourth year of grad school, she read the now-famous Nature Biotech article “Evidence for a mental health crisis in graduate education and learned that up to 40% of graduate students were dealing with signs and symptoms of mental illness. This was both shocking and unsurprising to her as she'd dealt with chronic depression and anxiety throughout my life and had struggled immensely in the year prior to the article release, but had always thought that this was maybe a 1-in-50 or 1-in-20 students thing. Certainly not 1-in-3. She was angry that nobody had told her about this before as these stats weren’t new at all. They just weren’t shared in a way she'd seen or identified with. The statistics and op-eds failed to show us how those students struggling with mental illness could be the same ones as we extolled for excelling and “being strong.” She'd never heard about how a student could be both.

Some departments and institutions have started to take these numbers and statistics seriously and are trying to make things better. But many more are still saying this is not their problem. Trying to pretend it's about individual weakness rather than systemic issues. So let's talk about Graduate Student Mental Health.


You can find out more about Susanna on her Twitter (@susannalharris) and Instagram (@susannalharris) accounts. Susanna will be chatting with host Liesl on the Youtube Livestream tomorrow (09/18) at 3 pm Eastern/12 pm Pacific using this link! Alternatively, you'll be able to catch up on the episode on Grad Chat, The Podcast published next Tuesday (09/21) here!


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