ACADEMIA, MENTAL HEALTH, AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE

One of our organisers, @Capable_Kat, is doing the Great Manchester Run in support of Mind, the mental health charity.  The event is on 22nd May, and you can make a donation at Kat’s Virgin Money Giving page.  Kat is hoping to raise in excess of £2000 for Mind, and as an incentive, she has set herself a few bizarre challenges to encourage you in your generosity!  You have to visit the Virgin Money link to find out what these are, but we can guarantee that they are ridiculous enough for you to really, really want them to happen! In particular, if we can get Kat to turn up to May’s PubhD in a cape-and-underpants combo, we will be well chuffed!

This is a great charity for academics to support, given the prevalence of mental health concerns among our community.  The Universities in Manchester are generally very aware and understanding of these matters, and offer good pastoral care when it is sought out.  But resources are limited, and NHS services in particular are underfunded.  And then there are those who slip through the net.  Mental health problems can leave one feeling unmotivated, alone, and ashamed.  A large part of what Mind do is provide information and online resources to support people who are worried about their health, or just want to learn more about mental health problems.  Visiting their website is a step towards taking control.

Here are some recent articles on mental health in academia – people have started talking about it; let’s carry on the conversation.

There is a culture of acceptance around mental health issues in academia | The Guardian

Dark thoughts: why mental illness is on the rise in academia | The Guardian

Academia & Mental Health | Dr. Nadine Muller

Lighting dark: Fixing academia’s mental health problem | New Scientist

Academic life and mental illness is not a smooth ride but it can be done | Time To Change

Mental Health in Academia | Tenure, She Wrote

Academia and Mental Illness: A Preliminary List of Resources | The Professor Is In

There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about | Quartz

‘So what do you do?’ Early-Career Reflections by Victoria Stiles | History Lab Plus

Updated guidance to universities on student mental health | Universities UK

Rising numbers of stressed students seek help | BBC News

 

And here are some links to useful resources if you are looking for more information:

NHS Choices offers general advice on a number of common mental health topics, and there are links to services and the option to search for available help in your area.

As mentioned above, Mind offers factual and objective advice on mental health issues, and also provide support in te community.

SANE is another leading mental health charity, and can also offer advice an support.  They have a number of targeted campaigns on their website.  Their key aims are:

1. Reducing the impact of mental illness
2. Improving treatment and care by increasing knowledge about mental illness
3. Influencing policy and public attitudes by increasing understanding of mental illness

Also check out Rethink, who also offer advice and local support groups.

 

If you need help RIGHT NOW, there are a number of helplines that you can call:

Your local Mental Health Crisis Team (you can search for them on the NHS Choices site), or attend A&E or call 999 – A mental health crisis is serious and should be treated as such.  Rethink have produced a factsheet about the processes involved in managing a mental health crisis, which you can download here.

The Sanctuary offer 24-hour advice and support for Greater Manchester residents with mental health difficulties on 0300 003 7029. www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/the-sanctuary

Rethink Mental Illness 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm), offering support and advice for people living with mental illness.

Anxiety UK, charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.  08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm). www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Bipolar UK, a charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder. www.bipolaruk.org.uk

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35. www.thecalmzone.net

Depression Alliance, charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups. www.depressionalliance.org

Mental Health Foundation provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Mind promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)www.mind.org.uk

OCD Action, support for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Includes information on treatment and online resources.  0845 390 6232 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).  www.ocdaction.org.uk

OCD UK, a charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.  0845 120 3778 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)  www.ocduk.org

No Panic, voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.  0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)  www.nopanic.org.uk

PAPYRUS, young suicide prevention society.  HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri,10am-5pm & 7-10pm. Weekends 2-5pm)  www.papyrus-uk.org

Samaritans, confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.  116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) www.samaritans.org.uk

Sane, charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness.  0845 767 8000 (daily, 6-11pm)   www.sane.org.uk

YoungMinds, information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.  Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm).  www.youngminds.org.uk

 

Speakers: Monday 21st March 2016

Tonight we have three speakers, all researching matters of the mind:

Clarissa Giebel
Clarissa is in her final year of a part-time PhD in Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, and she also works as a full-time Research Assistant at the Personal Social Services Research Unit. Her work explores the relationship between cognition and everyday activities (e.g. shopping, finances, cooking) in dementia, and to developing interventions related to these.  Losing the ability to perform everyday activities is one of the first symptoms of dementia, and it goes hand in hand with forgetfulness and other cognitive deficits.  Effective interventions can allow patients to continue functioning better and for longer.

*****UPDATE: Unfortunately Clarissa is unwell, and not able to attend tonight.  We wish her a speedy recovery and hope to have her at a future event.*****

Manoli Moriaty
Manoli is a second year PhD candidate at the University of Salford, studying research collaborative practices among practitioners of different artistic disciplines. He recently gave a performance at Texture (Lever Street), on the subject of Symbiosis. Perhaps we can expect something a little different tonight?  Here, at least, is a taster of what to expect:

Interactions between barnacles and baleen whales hold great wisdom for performing artists. So claims composer and second year doctoral candidate Manoli Moriaty, whose research at the University of Salford explores collaborative performance between artists of different disciplines. His work draws on the biological phenomenon of symbiosis, where organisms of different species form close and persistent interactions towards benefiting at least one of the involved beings. Similarly, Manoli collaborates with dancers, actors, performance artists, and instrumentalists in developing live pieces involving sound, motion, and their effects on each other, be that mutualistic or parasitic.

You can read more about Manoli’s work here.

Matt Barnard, Psychology
Do you remember back in May (it’s the one where we didn’t have a pub), that we were due three speakers, but we ended up with two (really intoxicating – haha) talks on drugs instead?  Well, our third speaker from that night is here at last to talk about his research in the field of Philosophy:

Matt Barnard is a Ph.D. Candidate and Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University researching the 20th Century Philosopher Martin Heidegger’s concept of Freedom. He will be contrasting the view offered by Heidegger, in which we must understand the world as grounded in freedom, with the mechanical view of the universe that understands everything within it as causally determined. Matt is also Membership Secretary to the British Society for Phenomenology, and runs a philosophy and politics blog, www.mattoffact.co.uk

PubhD Refreshed!

As you may have noticed over the past twelve months, things haven’t always been easy for PubhD in Manchester.  We’ve got a great idea, and there are hundreds of potential speakers out there, but stuff just seemed to get in our way.  Things like these:

The Pub Situation
We’re sure that our transitory nature hasn’t gone unnoticed.  At one point we had three pubs in as many months.  But we’ve finally found a lovely venue that is stable and happy to accommodate our events.  The beer’s good, the room’s good, and the location is about as central as we can get.  What more could we wish for?  It’s a dream come true!  In their own words:

crownkettle

Time Management
Like all Ph.D students, we have had to do an inordinate amount of planning, and that’s in addition to our studies and part-time jobs.  And like all Ph.D students, we have, ahem, struggled with this.  But things are improving, and we’re confident that under our new regime (ha!) we can continue to be successful and never return to those dark days in which we organised everything 48 hours prior to the event.

Thesis Writing
Well, that’s the main reason we’re all here, yeah?  As much as we want to do a million-and-one things with our time, our studies do have to come first.  And two of us had some writing up to do prior to graduation (which went trouble-free in both instances – hurrah!), and the other was submitting the end-of-year-one report.

Illness
One of us has a number of chronic conditions that sort-of all culminated at the same, inconvenient, time.  While it’s been a huge pain in terms of organising PubhD, this person is (finally) receiving effective treatment and is able to actually get on with all those things they really wanted to do (and should have been doing all along), including managing this event!

Job Hunting
Employment concerns have affected us all in some way, and especially for those of us who are now at the end of Ph.D life.  As well as ensuring that we are able to put food on the table, there are many questions to be answered about our futures.  What sort of experience do we need to succeed in industry or academia?  Do we even want to continue in academia?  Do we want to relocate or travel?  Or to do something completely different?  Even thinking about it takes time.

New Admin
Partly in response to our previous lack of time, energy and resources, we have introduced a new organiser to the group.  Tom Bourne joined us in November 2015, and he’s made some fantastic contributions to our efforts already.  You may have already met him, but if not, feel free to say hello at the next event.

New Stuff
Because we now have more time on our hands, and things have begun to run smoothly (long may this continue!), we’ll be adding more stuff to the website, and perhaps trying some new ideas out at our events.  As always, we’re happy to receive suggestions from the punters, speakers, and anyone else within earshot, so please let us know if you think of anything!