A Walk for Mental Health

Join us this June to raise awareness on mental health in academia. Let’s enjoy the great outdoors and take a walk for mental health! The SciLifeLab Committee for Diversity, Equity and inclusion arranges the Walk for Mental Health, and you are invited!

Why mental health?

The ‘perfect academic’ is expected to solely focus on what it takes to excel within an intellectual ecosystem — publishing and racing towards coveted tenure track positions. However, a lot seems to be happening behind the scenes. A growing number of early career researchers appear to decide to withdraw from the race at the end of their PhD, which is when they should feel the most energetic and hopeful about a career in academia. It has little to do with ability, and much to do with the ‘unmentionables in academia’, such as inadequate mentorship, being bullied, isolation due to unhealthy competition, the lack of a support system, a notion that failure is a bad thing, a fear of appearing weak or being perceived as a troublemaker, and poor communication. 

We are now at a time where approximately one in three early career academics suffers from depression or anxiety. Should we consider whether we can create work environments that allow people to thrive?

How do we do that? 

There are a few things that we can begin with, and the most important of them is an open conversation on mental health topics and create environments where it is ‘normal’ to notice and enquire after a colleague who looks like they could do with a chat, or encourage someone to seek support, or take time off after the passing of a loved one without being made to feel guilty or ‘weak’. 

We would like to walk together to voice our thoughts, reach out for support, and stand together in solidarity with those that need it most. This helps us to reflect on our own biases and practices and how they can change someone’s perspective of a career in academia.

How to participate in “A walk for mental health”

To join the walk:

  1. Go to World Walking and join DEI’s Walk for Mental Health
    (you have to sign up first).
  2. Go to “Walks”, select walk “A European Adventure”,
    click “Start this Walk” to join it.
  3. Contribute steps to the Walk
    (manually or by syncing World Walking with your mobile app or fitness tracker).
  4. More detailed instructions are available here



Last updated: 2021-06-02

Content Responsible: David Gotthold(