The Chronicle of Higher Education
Originally posted March 19, 2019
For Bruce Macintosh, Krueger’s death was a reminder of how isolating academe can be. Macintosh is a professor of physics at Stanford University who was employed at a national laboratory, not a university, until about five years ago. That culture was totally different, he said. At other workplaces, Macintosh said, you interact regularly with peers and supervisors, who are paying close attention to you and your work.
“There’s nothing like that in an academic environment,” he said. “You can shut down completely for a year, and no one will notice,” as long as the grades get turned in.
It seems, Macintosh said, as if there should be multiple layers of support within a university department to help faculty members who experience depression or other forms of mental illness. But certain barriers still exist between professors and the resources they need.
A 2017 survey of 267 faculty members with mental-health histories or mental illnesses found that most respondents had little to no familiarity with accommodations at their institution. Even fewer reported using them.
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Note: Career success, wealth, and prestige are not protective factors for suicide attempts or completions. Interpersonal connections to family and friends, access to quality mental health care, problem-solving skills, meaning in life, and purposefulness are.