Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day, and we want to open up a conversation about mental health, especially for women in STEM. We want to keep pushing back on the norms that make you feel be guilty for prioritizing your mental health, and we want to firmly reject the idea that “toughing it out” without help or support is somehow part of achieving true success in STEM.
It’s refreshing to see mental health being discussed increasingly more openly, especially in spaces like Twitter. However, reports like this on the dismal state of mental health in certain STEM career paths indicate that we still have a long way to go.
By sharing the following resources, we want you to know that you are not alone in whatever you are going through, and that help is within reach. This list is just the beginning. We can’t wait to hear what other resources you recommend.
1. Getting professional help.
Getting professional help is a solid place to start. In fact, we’ve heard many women in STEM say they wish they had sought professional help sooner, even though it’s all too easy to get deterred by guilt, lack of information, questions about the cost, etc. If you’re a student, ULifeline can help you find mental health services at your university.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is open 24/7 in case you or a friend experience suicidal thoughts, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can help you find a local support group.
The bottomline is that there is no shame in seeking professional help! Stay tuned for a story tomorrow from a scientist who saved her career by getting help.
2. Finding community online.
We believe that there are a lot of good vibes to be found on social media, including pages and people to follow who remind you that you are not alone in your mental health journey.
Not specific to STEM, Rest for Resistance is an inspiring online community that shares mental health resources by and for QTPOC.
As for individuals to follow, scientists Teresa Ambrosio and Katie Wedemeyer-Strombel, and author “TheBloggess,” each open up critical discussions on mental health. We know there are many more supportive voices out there — let us know who you follow!
3. Joining community IRL.
Beyond having friends and family you can talk to, finding a supportive group can be incredibly helpful. Organizations like Active Minds have chapters on many college campuses. Additionally, you might be surprised by how many mental health support groups you can find in your area on Meetup.com. Feel free to start one if it doesn’t exist yet!
4. Practicing self-care.
If podcasts soothe your soul, we recommend The Offering Podcast, a conversation “between four friends who share their experiences from an intersectional lens.” Recent episodes cover topics like intergenerational trauma and impostor syndrome.
Finally, STEM and non-STEM people alike can learn how to take better care of themselves through “The Science of Well-Being,” an online course on the psychological science behind happiness and practical strategies for achieving well-being. Taught by psychology professor Dr. Laurie Santos, it happens to be Yale’s most popular course ever.
By making mental health a priority, you help others make it a priority, too — and you push back on workplace cultures that don’t. What other resources do you recommend? Tell us in the comments!
Big thanks to Dr. Maryam Zaringhalam, Gabi Serrato Marks, Brianne Martin, Prasha S Dutra, Krishana Sankar, Dr. Christa Trexler, Amelie Stein, Dr. Kate M. O’Neill, and Valerie Trouet for suggesting resources for this post.