Mental Health Concerns


Hi everyone,

This may be a really sensitive subject but I'd really appreciate the advice.

I've been struggling with an eating disorder the past 5 years and although it's usually well managed, recently I've been struggling and it's affecting my mood and concentration.

I've been in-and-out of my GPs this week and I've just been diagnosed with severe depression and generalised anxiety disorder. I've been put on beta-blockers for now and will be put on SSSIs soon. I haven't told the university about my ED history and neither my new diagnosis. I don't want to necessarily tell my supervisors either. I haven't been here long and I don't want them to think that I can't handle my job.

I was wondering if anyone else here has similar struggles or if anyone had any advice of what I could do to help me? I've always wanted to do a PhD (I knew it was going to be tough) and I've been applying for years, I really don't want to have to quit.

I couldn't find a current thread (correct me if i'm worng) regarding mental health concerns so I hope you guys don't mind me starting a new one.

Thank you guys.


Hi Glossy

I'm sorry to hear you're going through a tough time. Lots of people have concerns about their mental wellbeing at times during the PhD process, so please don't feel you are alone in this. How much to tell your supervisors will be your decision, but I would encourage you to get whatever support you feel you need and if you need time off, make sure you take a break - supervisors will be more than used to students being sick from time to time. The PhD is a long process and it can withstand the odd time when you're not able to work to your usual
capacity. I think the early part of the PhD can be such a difficult time - I found it a complete culture shock and spent my first semester being stressed all the time. I hope things improve for you soon.


I would get in touch with the appropriate support services at the university - that is all confidential and certainly not something you need to inform your supervisors about.


Thanks everyone :)

@chickpea Thank you, i'm glad to hear that it might not just be me. If anything worsens I may ask for time off but at the moment I might keep this to myself, especially as it's so early on in the PhD. There's so much wrong with me, I don't want people to feel like they're treading on eggshells.

@DocInsanity thanks for the advice, I've gotten in touch with the counselling dept at the university but booking sessions here is a bit of a faff. I've put an hour aside tomorrow morning for it.


Hi Glossy,

I quite often just read through the posts on this forum without commenting but I wanted to reply to your message. Although I've never experienced an eating disorder, I have had mental health concerns (and other difficulties) which, like you I don't often speak about and didn't disclose to the Uni at first. They were particularly difficult at one point during my PhD. I did eventually disclose these to one of my supervisors and sought counselling (both from the University and Privately - it's expensive and I thought long and hard before doing it but the Uni could only provide a short term service and it's working longer term). Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone as at one point I felt like giving up myself but in hindsight I'm glad I didn't. I just wanted to say I hope the counselling goes okay (once you manage to get it sorted) and you manage to get the help you need and make progress with the PhD - if this is what you want to do.


Hi Glossy.

I think mental heath affects us all at one time or another.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2009 in the middle of doing my masters part-time. I am now doing my phd part-time and am on medication for anxiety. I have one main supervisor and told her that I struggle with my mental health. She is incredibly supportive and understanding, especially when it interferes with my ability to get work done.

I have had counselling in the past and found it really helpful for giving me a better perspective on life. I was very close to quitting my phd at one point (this time last year actually) but managed to stick with it and am glad I did. I tend to take a few weeks off here and there when it all gets too much and try to remind myself there is life outside phd and work.