Although the survey is specific to Flanders, many of the characteristics of working toward a Ph.D. are similar around the globe, making the findings generalizable, the authors argue. They hope the study, which has generated conversation on Twitter, will help break the silence around mental health issues in academia.
“[I]t is a public secret that fear of stigma, retaliation or the expected negative impact on one’s future career often inhibits people suffering from mental health issues to make it public,” they write.
This lack of visibility is problematic because feeling isolated can cause students’ mental health to deteriorate even further. It also means that there is less pressure on institutions and people in power to tackle the issue.