Impact of COVID-19 on the CSB community

Communication between colleagues is fundamental to the success of our community. Our interactions with one another can help us solve problems, rehash old ideas and inspire new ones. Due to many possible reasons, communication can often be difficult between students and between colleagues, especially if it revolves around a sensitive topic. For example: we’ve recently conducted a survey which shows that only 24% of surveyed CSB graduate students are comfortable sharing mental health struggles with their supervisors. Some of this data is shown in the charts below.

Graduate student responses to how willing they are to share mental health struggles with their PIs (2020)

Graduate students on impact of COVID-19 on communication with colleagues (2020)

Faculty responses on the impact of COVID-19 on communication with colleagues (2020)

Of course, the mental health stigma in academia has especially been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within CSB, members of our community have reported that communication with colleagues have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 41% of graduate students and 73% of faculty reporting a large impact of COVID-19 on interaction with colleagues. With a decline in communication with colleagues, conversations about mental health and struggles are even more limited.

So, what does this mean for us? We should strive to make our community a place where we can comfortably discuss topics such as mental health and general wellbeing at all levels.

As we move forward with our day to day activities, we should try to check-in with our friends and colleagues more regularly, whether it be via a quick email, or meeting. If you haven’t spoken with a colleague or someone in your lab for more than a couple of weeks, maybe it’s time to get in touch.

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