The hidden costs of a PhD degree

Recently a friend of mine shared this interesting article on facebook which really struck a chord with me:

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

Essentially the author discusses the psychological/emotional cost of a PhD, with some scary statistics to back up the claims. This paragraph in particular opened my eyes to just how common this issue is in graduate school:

I might not have felt so alone had I known how many people struggle with mental health issues in academia. A 2015 study at the University of California Berkeley found that 47% of graduate students suffer from depression, following a previous 2005 study that showed 10% had contemplated suicide. A 2003 Australian study found that that the rate of mental illness in academic staff was three to four times higher than in the general population, according to a New Scientist article. The same article notes that the percentage of academics with mental illness in the United Kingdom has been estimated at 53%.

The fact that I am a graduate student and had previously never heard any mention of mental health issues in the field is scary.  It also embodies the author’s discussion of how graduate students often ignore or downplay mental health symptoms in order to avoid appearing weak or incapable.


4 thoughts on “The hidden costs of a PhD degree

  1. I would probably be a hero to your eyes since I acknowledge much more readily that I have mental health problems than most other graduate students… I spent much of the time at the end of the fall semester talking one-on-one about mental health problems of other grad students (and sometimes a few undergraduates as well)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Megs Lernen

      Thanks for the reply Jessie! That is a fascinating article – I had never heard of a correlation between intelligence and alcohol…. in fact, I would have assumed the opposite correlation! The mental health link is interesting too, I can definitely see how it can occur…
      Thanks for stopping by!


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