Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Mental health of PhD candidates


Currently there is a lot of attention for PhD candidates suffering from mental health problems. In a recent publication (Nature, Nov 2019) survey results of more than 6300 international respondents are presented. The results show that most PhD candidates (>80%) are neutral to very satisfied with their PhD project, most of them (>75%) work longer than 40 hours per week, but most concerning is that about 36% of the PhD candidates have sought help for anxiety or depression caused by their PhD studies.

National & local

mentalhealth_poster_finalAt the national level, these numbers are very similar. Researchers at Leiden University performed a study within their university in 2017 and revealed that 38% of the PhD candidates are at risk of serious mental health problems. They also made a comparison between national and international PhD candidates, and it appears that the latter category is especially at risk.

Because the Donders Graduate School is aware that a part of the PhD candidates  suffers from mental health problems, and because we are in an international environment with more than 40% of the PhD candidates being non-Dutch, the Donders Graduate School and the PhD council have recently performed the same survey as was done in Leiden. The results of this research are presented on this poster (pdf, 1,8 MB).

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