The aim of this service is to provide mental health and wellbeing support to all interested international PhD students and members of staff in order to ensure they feel psychologically safe and to enable them to focus more effectively on their professional/academic goals.
Support mental health and wellbeing
|Categories||Safety, Healthcare & Wellbeing Social Integration & Daily Life|
|Mobility stages||During mobility phase|
|Delivery schedule||Not defined|
|Importance||Important to have|
|Scale of organizational change|
|Target groups||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Administrative staff|
|Types of contracts of researchers||Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar|
|Career stages of researchers||Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience|
|Lengths of stays of researchers||0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months|
The provision of this services is based on an institutional culture showing appreciation for and fostering wellbeing of all staff members, including international academics and early-stage researchers such as PhD students.
In case wellbeing support is already offered to local students or members of staff, it would be necessary to discuss specific needs of international academics with the responsible department or unit, prepare a dedicated plan or programme for (better) integrating this group into the existing support system, and hire or contract externally additional English-speaking support staff or experts. Such programme could involve support via a digital 24/7 English-language anonymous service.
Other set-up measures include dedicated training for university managers and supervisors who need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to support good wellbeing within their teams and respond appropriately when staff experience poor mental health.
In case wellbeing support is not yet offered at a higher education institution, it would be necessary to set up a dedicated unit or contract an external service or expert (e.g. English-speaking psychologist) or partner with a local charity or foundation. Joint support services can be organised in partnership with other local higher education institutions.
Support can be offered via a digital 24/7 English-language anonymous service. Other set-up measures include dedicated training for university managers and supervisors who need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support good wellbeing within their teams and respond appropriately when staff experience poor mental health.
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@ IRO - could be responsible for investigating specific needs of international academics in mental wellbeing support (e.g. explored with the help of students and researchers associations) and liaising with / communicating them to the HR office or other responsible department /unit.
@ Local NGOs or charities, municipal health centers/ local mental healthcare professionals - at the set-up stage, it would be recommended to explore the locally/regionally existing resources for mental health support offered to the local population, and to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
@ Other HEI/research organizations in city/region - several higher education institutions or university networks as well as local research centers and companies working with international professionals could investigate possibilities for procuring joint services to share the costs (e.g. a common 24/7 English-speaking support line).
The following services could be delivered to support mental health and wellbeing of international academics:
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@ Local NGOs and local healthcare professionals - the higher education institution could contract external experts to deliver the actual services. In case of outsourcing, it would be necessary to monitor and assess the quality of external services on a regular basis (e.g. via satisfaction surveys or focus groups).
Ghent University offers a list of resources that (international) PhD students and postdoctoral researchers may find useful to help maintain their resilience and well-being: