My name is Nkasi and I struggled with a mental illness during my undergraduate and postgraduate life; and continue to struggle with depression, anxiety, and pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder as a PhD student.
As well as my battle with mental illness I also often struggle to navigate the varying degrees of racism I face as a black female PhD student. Research in young adults suggests certain personal identities (e.g. identifying as an ethnic minority, female, LGBTQI+) might mean you are more likely to struggle with mental health problems. There is lack of research into whether similar patterns of mental health inequality are present in the UK university student population.
The rise of the zombie academy, the valuing of higher education in future earning potential terms solely and the attainment culture cultivated in the UK education system are creating a toxic environment for both students and staff.
Concerns around the wellbeing and mental health of the student population are well documented. In the 2017 report ‘Not By Degrees’ (pg34) the IPPR comments on the YouGov survey findings. Study was found to be the primary cause of stress among students, this is coupled with pressure to find a high-class degree as ‘Finding a job after university’ is the second highest cause of stress reported by students (“Not by degrees”, 2017).
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