Doctoral students’ access to non-academic support for mental health

Emma Waight, Aline Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
687 Downloads (Pure)


Increased doctoral student numbers has led to a growth in studies dedicated to doctoral experience. These studies have raised a range of mental health concerns around workload, supervision processes, and student wellbeing. Despite these challenges being well documented, few studies have looked at doctoral students’ experiences of accessing non-academic support services. This article presents the findings of a mixed-method study to investigate doctoral experiences of non-academic support, conducted at one British university with a large postgraduate research population. Drawing on focus groups and a student survey, the article concludes that many doctoral students are not accessing institutional support when they could benefit from it, with many turning to external support mechanisms including family, personal doctor and online resources. Five institutional recommendations are proposed to develop improved dedicated doctoral student mental health support; clear signposting, online self-help, workshops, parity of support, and supervisor training
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-412
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Issue number4
Early online date29 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management on 29th May 2018, available online:


  • Higher Education
  • student support
  • Mental health
  • doctorates


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