<PG Mental Health Stats

  • 32% of PhD students are at risk of having, or developing a common psychiatric disorder, especially depression [1].
  • Universities are seeing an alarming rise in occupational stress which some studies suggest is more prevalent in younger academics [2].
  • The number of students accessing counselling services grew by 50% over a five-year period [3]. (Figures provided by 37 higher education institutions under the Freedom of Information Act)
  • In the Arts and Humanities 64% of students reach the threshold of depression. In Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering and ‘Other Professional’ between 43-46% score as depressed. With relatively lower rates in Law (37%), Social Sciences (34%) and Business (28%) [4].
  • PhD students have lower life satisfaction than Master’s and Professional students and exhibit higher levels of depressive symptoms – PhD (47%), Masters (37%) [5].
  • A 2014 study by the University of Berkeley [1] found that there are 10 main predictors of graduate student wellbeing. These are:
    1. Career prospects
    2. Overall health
    3. Living conditions
    4. Academic engagement
    5. Social support
    6. Financial confidence
    7. Academic progress and preparation
    8. Sleep
    9. Feeling values and included
    10. Advisor relationship

[5] The Graduate Assembly, ‘Graduate Student Happiness & Well-Being Report’ (2014) [Available at https://ga.berkeley.edu/wellbeingreport/] p7


[4] The Graduate Assembly, ‘Graduate Student Happiness & Well-Being Report’ (2014) [Available at https://ga.berkeley.edu/wellbeingreport/] p7


3] Yeung et al., ‘University Mental Health Services face strain as demand rises 50%’, The Guardian, 23 September 2016 [Available at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/23/university-mental-health-services-face-strain-as-demand-rises-50]


[2] Kinman, G., ‘Pressure Points: A review of research on stressors and strains in UK academics’, Educational Psycology, 21:4 (2001) p473-492


[1] Levecque et al.,’Work Organization and mental health problems in PhD students’, Research Policy, 46 (2017) p868-879