Helping Other PhD Students Excel (Hope), A Peer-Led Support Group Pilot

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2022
Authors
Lopez-Neyman, Stephanie M.
Brito Silva, Francilia
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Based on the Council of the Graduate School’s (CGS) 2021 research, graduate students’ mental health has been deteriorating as they experience high levels of stress and anxiety due to isolation, depression, highly competitive campus cultures, racism, xenophobia, and financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CGS called for universities to develop strategies that supported graduate students’ mental health, including assessment practices for determining effectiveness. One promising effort includes engaging students through peers. In 2021, two TWU graduate students created a peer-led support group called H.O.P.E. (Helping Other PhDs Excel), which was first piloted in Nutrition and Food Sciences and later opened to all TWU Ph.D. students. Virtual meetings include tying graduate students to important resources and processes while also creating space for honest dialogue about their health and wellbeing. This presentation will discuss the evolution of this peer support group and their outcomes to date.

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