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Unspoken Truths; An Exploration of Graduate Students Mental Health and Well-Being

 

Theme: Mental Health Among Marginalized Communities
Project Title: Unspoken Truths; An Exploration of Graduate Students Mental Health and Well-Being
Grantee: Carmen McCallum, Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University; Allison Boone, Graduate Student, Eastern Michigan University; Susanna Long, Graduate Student, Eastern Michigan University; Gloryvee Fonseca-Borlin, Program Manager & Women of Color in the Academy Project Coordinator at the University of Michigan
Grant Period: April-September 2020

Abstract
This project will extend an existing mixed-method study by examining the experiences of doctoral students with mental health challenges. Previously, semi-structured interviews were utilized to interview 14 PhD students in the social sciences to understand how graduate school experiences negatively impact student mental health. This work identified five underlying causes of poor mental health outcomes: (1) normalizing stress, depression and anxiety as part of graduate school culture, (2) lack of guidance in choosing a career path, (3) negotiating work/life balance, (4) experiencing negative interpersonal and professional development experiences and (5) internalizing stigmatization associated with mental health. The majority of students in the sample were cisgender and White. We would like to continue this research and diversify our sample in order to gain a better understanding of the impact of mental health challenges on students of color and those with marginalized identities.