PGR Wellbeing

Purpose of the proposed group
The overarching purpose of the group is to respond to the UUK #stepchange Framework for Mental Health in Higher Education by bringing together a cross-University community of staff and students with a common interest in the mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate research (PGR) students. The group will develop a better shared understanding of the specific needs of PGR students, the support available and best practice approaches, activities and interventions.

Watch this video for more information about the group (passcode: PGR-2020):

Objectives of the proposed group
We are interested in looking at what we can do across the PGR community to promote good mental health and wellbeing, with a focus on early interventions and preventative measures.

  • To look at current sources of support for PGR wellbeing across the University, how these are communicated to PGRs, and how PGRs engage with this support
  • To develop preventative interventions structured around milestones and key points in the PGR student lifecycle
  • To promote awareness and reduce stigma, and encourage healthy behaviours in students’ approaches to their research
  • To explore whether there are any particular groups or demographics of PGR students who may require additional support, and how this could be achieved
  • To review how we present and communicate information and processes relating to PGR study to ensure expectations are clear
  • To support supervisors to promote healthy behaviours and cultures, recognise warning signs and understand their role in supporting wellbeing

Group main contacts
Professor Christine Le Maitre (HORD)
Dr Elizabeth Scanlon (Research Training and Development Manager Doctoral School)
Mrs Jane Wright (Research Institute Manager Industry and Innovation)
Dr Sarah Smith (Doctoral School Manager)

Resource links
Universities UK StepChange Framework
https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange
UKCGE Working Group on PGR mental health and wellbeing
http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/pg-mental-health-and-wellbeing.aspx
Exploring wellbeing and mental health and associated support services for postgraduate researchers
https://re.ukri.org/documents/2018/mental-health-report/
Not by degrees: Improving student mental health in the UK’s universities
https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/not-by-degrees
Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733317300422
Vitae resources on mental health and wellbeing of researchers
https://www.vitae.ac.uk/doing-research/wellbeing-and-mental-health