Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Supporting postgraduate researchers' mental health

Published: 3 March 2016
It's time to focus on PGR wellbeing
It is vital we have an understanding of the issues faced by PGRs and how to support them

Today is University Mental Health Day, a national day dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges faced by university students and the effect that these can have on their mental health.

Timed with this national initiative, The Doctoral College, in partnership with Enabling Services, is investigating the relationship between postgraduate researcher (PGR) wellbeing and non-academic support services.

Last week, The Doctoral College, in collaboration with the Students’ Union, ran six focus groups with a total of 35 doctoral researchers from NOC, SGH, Avenue and Highfield. The aim of the focus groups was to understand:

  • What ‘wellbeing’ means to our PGR students
  • What factors, both academic and non-academic, affect their wellbeing
  • What are their experiences, both positive and negative, of the non-academic support services provided by the University
  • Any suggestions as to how the University could better support their wellbeing 

Dr Emma Waight, Research Officer, said:

“As part of the research team I am very grateful to those who participated and shared in the focus groups which were invaluable in terms of understanding PGR wellbeing. I have no doubt they have voiced various concerns that many PGRs experience but are unable to articulate for various reasons.”

One of the planned outcomes from this project is to use information gained to build a permanent electronic learning resource for doctoral researchers about mental health and pastoral care.

The Doctoral College, Enabling Services and Faculty Graduate Schools Directorates will also review the pastoral care needs of PGRs and the effectiveness of non-academic support to develop a set of recommendations for future implementation.

Further information regarding the PGR wellbeing project can be found here.

Privacy Settings