Caring for Mental Health of PhD Students: a Voice of an Insider

Interviewer: Mary Dinh

Interviewee: Adele Touhey

Our mental health affects most aspects of our life including our emotional, psychological and social well-being. You or someone close might have even been diagnosed with a mental health issue or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Graduate students, especially Ph.D. students, experience alarmingly high rates of depression, anxiety, and (chronic) stress, as shown in numerous worldwide studies. However, an early understanding about how to take care of mental health and informed preparation for attaining tools and resources to tackle mental issues can support their doctoral journey.

Dr. Adele Touhey, our former president of ETAP DocS ( and currently a curriculum developer at Duolinguo, described her process of finishing her dissertation as a “roller coaster” to refer to a lot of personal uncertainties. However, she stressed that it is worth being reflective, kind, and supportive of each other on this journey. Tackling mental health along the Ph.D. journey, Adele emphasized the necessity to challenge stigma and discrimination against students with mental health issues, address the reality of mental issues that Ph.D. students could face, and the value of embracing available (professional) strategies and services that help them monitor their progress in a safe and stress-free manner.

Ph.D. study should not be a lonely journey. As a doctoral student in ETAP, ETAP DocS is where you can rely on and stay connected with your cohort. For ETAP DocS Peer-to-peer Research Forum (supporting your research ideas), please reach out to or Peer-to-peer Mentoring Program at:

For UAlbany students, know that help is just around the corner. You can refer to CAPS for more formal education on the topic and for connecting to a therapist at Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) | University at Albany

A full episode of our interview – “Caring for Mental Health of PhD Students: a Voice of an Insider” can be found at:

Written by Mary Dinh (

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