The Mental Health working group (WG) is the working group in the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researcher (Eurodoc) that focuses on the psycho-social conditions of doctoral candidates and early career researchers (ECRs).
The work of the WG is led by the two co-coordinators, Sara Wilhammar and Mathias Schröijen. Sara is a postdoc at Lund University (Sweden) within the field of engineering, and Mathias is a project manager for professional development and training for researchers at Université Libre de Bruxelles - ULB (Belgium).
Within the WG, we actively discuss the main mental health issues for ECRs, relate our observations to available studies, conduct surveys among ECRs, and try to understand the underlying causes.
European data consistently show that around 30 - 40 % of researchers are at risk of developing a common psychiatric disorder (Guthrie et al., 2018). Therefore, mental health is a top priority for Eurodoc. The Mental Health WG was set up to reflect on how to address the mental health issues of ECRs in Europe. Our working group comprises representatives from our member national associations (NAs) at Eurodoc, interested ECRs from across Europe, and leading specialists on the mental health of researchers.
We aim to propose policy recommendations for higher education and research stakeholders in Europe, which is why the WG in 2021 and 2022 drafted the Mental health statement. The statement includes ten principles that must be met by an academic institution and supported by national as well as European policymakers to be considered a healthy workplace.
The general goals of the working group are
- Raising awareness regarding the prevalence of mental health issues
- Encouraging wider and systematic data collection on mental health issues
- Identifying stressors and risk factors related to mental health issues
- Suggesting potential strategies and good practices that may prevent or alleviate mental health issues among ECRs in Europe
The current activities of the working group are
Working towards these general goals, the mental health WG’s objectives for 2022/2023 are to
- write and submit an article regarding mental health,
- participate in strategic events and collaborations, and
- facilitate discussions and reflect on tools that are relevant and helpful for NAs on addressing mental health concerns at their national level (e.g. slides and statements ready to be used).
How to sign up for the WG mailing lists
Each working group has an email list. Here, the working groups can keep in touch between meetings, such as calling for meetings and sharing information of interest to its members.
All Eurodoc has 6 working groups open for all Early career researchers and doctoral candidates affiliated with one or more of the members (national associations) of Eurodoc to join. In some cases, it is even possible for others to join these working groups.
If you wish to be added to the new email lists for any working groups, please sign up through this google form.