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.

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
    Name: Sarah Smith
    Role: Doctoral School Manager, Research and Innovation Office
    Email address: S.A.Smith@shu.ac.uk

    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