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#ECRWednesday Webinar: Mental health support for early-career researchers

Join us to find out more about mental health initiatives that could support you or your fellow researchers.
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Mental health is a growing concern for early-career researchers across all disciplines. There is greater awareness of how the acute pressures from the hyper-competitive job market, ‘publish or perish’ culture and the sometimes isolating nature of research contributes to unacceptably high rates of depression and anxiety amongst scientists. With this greater awareness, there is also an increasing number of initiatives aimed at helping early-career researchers improve their mental health.

  1. Register here

In this webinar our speakers will discuss:

  • Imposter syndrome and perfectionism
  • Ongoing initiatives that support mental health in academia
  • How the Medical Student Well-Being Index could be adopted in graduate schools

By sharing their experiences in this webinar, our speakers hope to increase awareness of the importance of addressing mental health challenges and that more early-career scientists can benefit from the support available.

Can’t join us to watch live? Sign up and we'll send you a recording so you can watch at a time that suits you.


Brianne Kent, Chair of eLife Early-Career Advisory Board and Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School


Jo Franchetti, Engineering Engagement Manager at Trainline.
Jo has 7 years of experience as a front-end developer and has worked in various parts of the tech industry from startups, agencies, charities to large organisations. She is passionate about WebVR, PWAs and great CSS. She is also a mentor and organiser at where she is able to act on her passion not only for teaching good use of the web but also for improving the diversity and inclusivity of the tech industry. Follow her on Twitter @ThisIsJoFrank.

Susanna L. Harris, PhD candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill.
As a PhD candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill, Susanna L. Harris is studying how beneficial bacteria stick to plant roots and support plants’ growth. She hopes this research may help develop safe microbes to replace harsh chemicals for increasing crop production.

In March 2018, Susanna founded The PhDepression LLC to open discussion of mental illness in Higher Education through curation of stories and resources. She speaks openly about her own depression and mental illness, including in a widely-viewed speech ( Check out The PhDepression LLC at or @ph_d_epression on Twitter and Instagram. Susanna can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @susannalharris or at

Michael Zhu Chen, Managing Director of It Gets Brighter and MSc candidate in Global Health Science and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford.
A Colorado native, Michael Zhu Chen is the Managing Director of It Gets Brighter, a non-profit organization that supports young people who are experiencing mental health issues by sharing video messages of hope and support. Michael graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry. He conducted neuroscience research investigating the neural circuits that control thirst motivation in the laboratories of Drs. Karl Deisseroth and Liqun Luo. He also co-founded Synapse, a non-profit organization that provides social support for brain injury patients in communities across the US. Michael is currently reading for an MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and plans to pursue an MD-PhD.

We welcome comments, questions and feedback. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

Interested in our full selection of #ECRWednesday webinars, on topics such as preprints, finding funding and more? Take a look at the collection of past reports and recordings.