> >It is the constant stress of trying to get your project to work, hitting one dead end after another, and having to 'compete' for your advisor's attention that I would think is causing a lot of the problems.
Related to this, I have read that one issue that many graduate students, particularly in biosciences, struggle with is that their research has become so specialized that they aren't sure that they are learning any transferable skills that will help in the non-academic job market. I can imagine that a lack of a clear career ladder would have a significant impact on morale.
> >I do think that there needs to be more acceptance and even promotion of college mental health services;
I agree that this is an important resource. According to people with experience in both sectors, one of the big differences between academic and industrial labs is that managers of industrial labs have significantly more training and focus on managing people and work groups than in academic labs. Mental health services are important support systems when academic research managers are over-stretched by teaching and service responsibilities as well as research oversight.
Interestingly, I have also read that the most depressed faculty members are those who have just received tenure. This is because at that point their teaching and service expectations are increased to help younger faculty who are being supported in their research work by the institutional investments. It's been my experience that academia is quite a complex culture to operate in, which is why it's so interesting on an ongoing basis.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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