Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk to my advisor about my stress and/or mental health? And if so, how do I do that?

  • Generally, it is good to be transparent. While advisors try to pay attention to your well-being, remember that they cannot read your mind. Talking to them about how to make a game-plan can be good. However, you are not required to share everything, including any medical information, with your advisor.
  • Do a trial run (play act) with someone you trust beforehand if you are nervous about talking with your advisor about it.
  • Talking face-to-face about mental health can be very challenging. You can also write your advisor an e-mail, have a phone call, a virtual meeting with cameras off, or any other format.
  • If your advisor is not supportive, it is not the end of the world. There are other people you can reach out to! (e.g. committee members or the equity advisors).

What should I do if my advisor is unsupportive and/or is the cause of my stress?

  • Reach out to others! (e.g. the Equity advisors, Committee Members, or GSAB mental health rep)
  • If you do not want to talk with someone in the department, you can also reach out to the Ombuds at the Office of Graduate Assistance

What should I do if I am worried about a friend?

  • First, talk with your friend. Ask them how they are doing. Listen to them (validate their feelings, show empathy). If they don’t want to talk, do not force them. You have already helped by showing them that you care. However, do continue to ask them how they are.
  • Here are some websites with other good tips:
  • Fill out a Student of Concern report with the Office of the Dean of Students
  • If you are really concerned about them (e. worried that they will hurt themselves or others):
    • If you are together, offer to walk with them to CAPs or call CAPS together
    • If you are not together, ask Purdue Police to do a wellness check
    • If you are concerned that they have already hurt themselves or others (or will in the immediate future), call 911

What else is the department doing to address mental health in graduate school?

  • Professional development for students and faculty (especially about effective mentoring relationships)
  • Do you have suggestions? Submit them here (This is completely anonymous!): Mental Health Suggestions