Status: Complete

Get the university to make all staff who supervise research students take Mental Health First Aid training

In a 2019 survey conducted by Nature (one of the highest impact-factor scientific journals), 36% of PhD students had described struggling with anxiety or depression directly related to their degrees (significantly higher than the rate of the general population). With the significant additional burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this number is only set to increase further. 

University staff who directly supervise research students (such as PhD or MRes candidates) have both a professional and pastoral relationship with their supervisees. Especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, research supervisors are one of the main links between the University and research postgraduates, often having weekly meetings to check in on their students. 

Due to this close working relationship between supervisors and their students, I believe that supervisors have, to some extent, a duty of care towards their PGRs, especially with regards to mental health, which can be hugely influenced by supervisors in both positive and negative ways. 

Due to the nature of this relationship, I believe it would be universally beneficial to have research supervisors undertake mandatory mental health first aid training, so that they can recognise, appropriately respond to, and/or signpost any supervisees which appear to be struggling with their mental health.

Hopefully this initiative would help to create a more open, honest and understanding atmosphere in the oft-cold and harsh environment of academia, enabling more postgraduate researchers to get the mental health help and support that they desperately need. 

Limk to Nature article:

Submitted on Sunday 7th March 2021


Thank you for your submission.  


We have passed this feedback onto the Doctoral Collage and will continue to work with them to improve your student experience. Currently the University's Centre for Higher Education and Practice provides all lecturers with voluntary training. We will continue to lobby for this training to be mandatory.    

SUSU takes mental health seriously and works to provide students with additional support. If you require support please contact the Advice Centre or Enabling Services: + 


Kind Regards, 



VP Education & Democracy 

Monday 10th May 2021 12:54pm


  • Forwarded to Vice President Education and Democracy
    Friday 12th Mar 2021 10:07am


Please login in order to comment

Sorry, there have been no comments yet