Some days are better than others - 8 researchers talk about their mental health journeys — R Voice

Some days are better than others - 8 researchers talk about their mental health journeys

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin

Today, on World Mental Health Day, I'd like to share something very special with you. Over the last few weeks, I've been working on a video series called "Some days are better than others". For this series, 8 brave researchers came forward to speak openly about the lived experience of mental illness and mental health issues, and just how difficult basic life tasks can be for someone living with mental illness.

Here, they answer the question - How would you describe your mental health journey?

Do watch this video and feel free to share it with others. Every step towards destigmatizing mental health and mental illness in academia counts. Let's break the stigma together!

P.S. Working on this video series has been a very fulfilling experience for me. I'd love to hear what you think of it 😊

Comments

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, @Andrea Hayward. The video is informative. It shows the different dimensions of mental health in academia. While it is well recognized in the developed world, the system in most developing countries does not accord any regard or concern. I remember my experience in my former university at home when I was confronted with a toxic academic environment. I lost my passion for work because the environment was acutely hostile towards me. A virus was sent into my computer in the guise of an official email. The first draft of my Ph.D. and my entire research works were lost. I literarily lost my intellectual sanity! I could not write a single abstract for a whole year! I did not recover from that until I finally left the university for South Africa to start my Ph.D. again. A toxic academic environment is a killer! And it is a catalyst for mental health. I am sure many colleagues have lost their lives in this regard. Awareness is necessary, most especially in most developing countries.

    One thing at a time

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 175 admin

    Thanks for sharing this @Andrea Hayward This is such a powerful video. I appreciate the researcher for her courage - it takes guts to talk about your own mental health. I can imagine how useful such a series would be for researchers.

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO GOSH your story sounds truly dreadful - it's a nightmare to lose all your work and I am really sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing this here on R Voice. You do seem to have gotten back on your feet, although this is an experience that might be hard to forget. I appreciate how you are full of inspiration for other researchers despite such a tough experience yourself. You are absolutely right - a toxic environment is indeed a killer...of hope, aspiration, optimism, passion for work, and sometimes a desire to live. In my observation, awareness of mental health and the role it plays in academics' lives is now slowly increasing in developing countries too. Of course there is a long way to go, but I do see more and more people and researchers opening up about their mental health journeys (positive and negative) and acknowledging the fact that this is something that needs attention.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, @Jayashree Rajagopalan. The awareness must continue. Personal interests should not be allowed to derail the aspirations of others. The academic world is so large to accommodate people without necessarily pulling others down.

    One thing at a time

  • Adaora Anyichie - Odis
    Adaora Anyichie - Odis Member Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO I am so sorry you passed through this in Nigeria. This is really sad. It was when I needed to get ethical approval in Nigeria that I understood how Ph.D. students studying here in Nigeria are being frustrated. I thank God I finally got my ethical approval but not from a Prof I really looked up to in my field.

  • Erin Owens
    Erin Owens Member Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward Thanks for sharing! It's so important to normalize discussion of these sorts of experiences.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, @Adaora Anyichie - Odis. You can imagine the kind of frustration. It was like a hell for me. I am just looking forward to a time when academic activity in Nigeria will be delivered from the cycle of torture and mental slavery.

    One thing at a time

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO thank you for opening up about this difficult experience. You are just as brave and courageous as the researchers who have spoken openly in the video 😊

    I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through this ordeal and deal with such a toxic academic environment. It's heartbreaking to see that a colleague would go so far to hurt you. At the same time, I'm hardly surprised because such cases of hostile behaviors and harassment in academia are more common than anyone could ever imagine 😓 This entire experience must have been so draining and I'm so glad that you took your time before you felt ready to write again. I'm very happy that you're doing much better now and sincerely hope that you never have to experience anything even remotely like this again.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin

    Thanks @Erin Owens. I couldn't agree more! Working on this series has been an eye-opener for me and now I'm even more determined to work towards destigmatizing mental illness in academia and normalizing discussions around it.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Thank you, @Andrea Hayward. It was an experience in the learning curve. I have lived above that now. God has been soo good to me.

    One thing at a time

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @Andrea Hayward for preparing this very informative video. Mental health is something that we should keep talking about.

    Maybe some of those persons could also share how they deal with their mental illness on a daily basis and which mechanisms they use to promote health in their lives?