Video: Common misconception - Only those with problems in their research face mental health issues

Common misconception - Only those with problems in their research face mental health issues

Editor's Note: The Leibniz Network conducted a series of webinars to help researchers manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This video was originally published as part of this series and has been republished here with permission. The original video can be accessed here.

Concluding her talk on self-management during COVID-19 Dr. Desiree Dickerson, Academic Mental Health and Well-Being Consultant, reminds us to show some compassion to ourselves just as we think of being compassionate towards others. She drives home the fact that the way we talk to ourselves is way harsher than when we talk to others. Dr. Dickerson also suggests a switch in our self-talk, for example, from telling oursleves, "I just can't do this!" to "I can't do this right now." 

Taking over from Dr. Dickerson, Dr. Hendrik Huthoff (Scientific Manager of the Jena School for Microbial Communication) introduces himself and the topic he plans to cover - how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect doctoral programs across the globe. He begins with how advocacy plays a critical role in the realm of mental health discussions within and around academia and goes on to candidly share how he faced mental health problems during his own PhD journey, specifically his struggle to deal with his anxiety. Dr. Huthoff asserts that the first hurdle to overcome is to acknowledge that you need help and to go ahead and seek that help. And speaking of the impact of COVID-19 on academic research, he shares the positive side of the situation. He feels that there is hope for researhers because institutions are showing a lot of willingness to support researchers. Continuing the note of optimism, he goes on to emphasize how this time can be used for some much needed skill development, literature reading, and self-reflection.

Following Dr. Huthoff's session, Dr. Nicola Byrom (Lecturer in Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurosciences at King’s College London), begins her session on managing anxieties and low mood during social isolation. While talkng about the need to distinguish mental health issues from everyday concerns, Dr. Byrom discusses the need to acknowledge that mental health is something we need to consciously talk about. 

Watch the entire webinar series:

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