Helmholtz Juniors - Mental Health Awareness

We all know that doing a PhD can be really challenging, not only scientifically but also on the personal side. There have been enough studies talking about “we need to pay attention to our students' mental health” [1], and that’s good. Mental health is a topic that is often overlooked or even dismissed. Very often we have to deal with the feeling of constant failure, impostor syndrome, heavy expectations and it is just overwhelming. Also, the requirements for a good PhD such as learning a lot of new things and dealing with many complex and large projects combined with stressful situations in the lab and private life can sometimes make it hard to cope. Add to that the whole process of moving to another country, as around 40% of is Doctoral Researchers in the Helmholtz Association have [2] – leaving friends and family behind. And that can be an additional burden to carry.  

You are not alone!

Let’s face it: you have probably experienced at least one of these real bad moments during your PhD. So, the first thing we want to make sure you know is that you are not alone.

Especially during these crazy recent times of a worldwide pandemic.

Let us not ignore the importance of staying healthy in both mind and body.

Mental Health Awareness Month

The Helmholtz Juniors wants to invite you to join us this October for our Mental Health Awareness month! 

Our email series bundles a lot of information and good practices to keep your minds healthy. Furthermore, we discuss the current state of Doctoral Researchers‘ mental health in Germany and around the world. We provide information on how to identify possible stressors and signs of stress in your life as well as some potential tips on how to be happy.

Stay tuned for our October weekly emails!

Enjoy this reading as it will be a great opportunity for a precious 5 min break from work.

Helmholtz Juniors: the PhD network working to improve our situation

Wondering about the origin of this campaign? Let us introduce ourselves: we are the Helmholtz Juniors, the PhD network of the Helmholtz Association. We represent around 8000 Doctoral Researchers to the head office and the public, and our efforts focus on assessing and improving our situation during the PhD. You might have heard of some measurable results from our work, such as the general increase of salaries and implementation of contracts instead of stipends.

Let us together destigmatize mental health and do the first step together: Let’s talk about it! 

But also remember, help can be right there, with a very long and deep breath and a simple and easy chit chat with a fellow Doctoral Researcher who might have been there already and can share some experience.

And finally: you survived 100% of your worst days so far. Congratulations on that! So take a moment, sit back, breathe and relax. You deserve it.

Additional Information that we want to share:

The University of Jena is hosting a Mental Health Webinar Series starting next Monday with a 7 interesting topics!

Be sure to check their program. Click here for more information.

All the best!

Your local Helmholtz Juniors

Anna-Lena and Anna


And Doctoral Representatives


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1. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03489-1

2. https://www.helmholtz.de/fileadmin/user_upload/06_jobs_talente/Helmholtz-Juniors/Survey_Report2019.pdf