What we do with PGR Feedback: PGR Wellbeing and Mental Health
This post continues our series on ‘what we do in response to PGR feedback’, and this time we’re looking at the much-discussed and important topic of PGR wellbeing.
This was highlighted as an important topic in the 2017 PRES survey (where only 59% of PGRs agreed they had a good work life balance) and was also talked about during focus groups, as part of our research communities project we conducted in early 2017.
At University level, your feedback has prompted lots of activity in this area, with the appointment of additional staff in the Counselling Service and a new mental health champion for the university. For this blog post, we have focused on PGR-specific activity.
So what's new?
We’ve consulted around campus (with PGRs, PGR convenors, student reps, University Services and administrators) and also looked to best practice in industry and what other Universities are doing in the UK and internationally. We are big fans of the University of Warwick’s PG hub and I was lucky enough to visit the MIT work life centre earlier this year.
So far this term, we have piloted a host of new activities, from regular lunchtime walks and gardening sessions, to training and workshops aimed at both PGRs and staff in supporting roles, to get a better understanding of what PGRs would find useful to support their physical and mental health. Where something has been successful, we aim to consolidate it as part of the researcher development programme in future years.
What can you do?
First and foremost, let us know what you think, either sharing your thoughts here on the blog or emailing Elizabeth Adams (mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org). These are pilots and we need your feedback!
Have a look at the resources available to support you with physical and mental wellbeing as a researcher
Watch out for our PGR physical activity research project (for 1st year PGRs only). This project came about after we heard numerous times that research students used to be active and sporty during their undergrad, but had less time or opportunity for this as a PGR.
Look out for a series of events including mental health first aid and more taking place around University Mental Health Day on 1st March 2018
Check out our PGR gardening video below, and watch out for other projects throughout 2018!
Infographics created by Paul Banks.