UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral student Susanna L. Harris selected to serve on advisory committee
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), an organization of about 500 universities in the United States and Canada that grant master’s and doctoral degrees, and the Jed Foundation (JED), a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for teens and young adults, recently announced an initiative to support the mental health and wellness of graduate students.
The 22-month project, officials said, “will create a foundation for evidence-based policies and resources to support graduate student mental health and well-being, prevent psychological distress, and address barriers to effective support and care. CGS and JED will give particular attention to the experiences of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities pursuing graduate education.”
“I hope that bringing a student perspective to the table may help guide these reforms and that this collaborative effort can help many graduate students who come after me.”
—Susanna L. Harris
The initiative, named Supporting Mental Health and Wellness of Graduate Students, will address concerns throughout broad fields of graduate study. Funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will support issues specific to STEM fields, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding will support issues specific to the humanities.
An advisory committee of experts and graduate education leaders will counsel CGS on its research and action plan. Susanna L. Harris, a doctoral student in microbiology and immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill, was the only graduate student selected for the advisory committee. Harris said she is honored to be a part of the new initiative.
“The conversation around mental health and illness for academics has been steadily growing louder,” she said, “and it’s inspiring to see people coming together to make big changes. I hope that bringing a student perspective to the table may help guide these reforms and that this collaborative effort can help many graduate students who come after me.”
Harris created PhD Balance, an online community for sharing stories and mental health resources, “to empower students to build personal and professional resilience during graduate school,” she said. CGS will survey its member institutions about their policies and practices for supporting graduate student mental health and about factors that may have an impact on the design and delivery of services. Graduate deans, graduate students, mental health researchers and other experts will participate in a workshop in 2020. The initiative’s outcome will include a report (to be released by December 2020) and a statement of common principles for supporting graduate student mental health.
Read full information on Supporting Mental Health and Wellness of Graduate Students.
Carolina launches 24/7 hotline to support student mental health
The new service, recommended by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Mental Health Task Force, will give Carolina students direct access to mental health professionals at any time of the day or night.
As of Aug. 17, Carolina students have 24/7 access to mental health support via a new Counseling and Psychological Services hotline.
Students who are experiencing a crisis or who need immediate mental health support can call Counseling and Psychological Services at 919-966-3658 at any time to be connected with a professional who can help.
Read full story on Carolina’s new Counseling and Psychological Services hotline