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Swansea University researchers are launching a new study which will examine both work and mental health experiences among female academics in the UK’S higher education sector.

Mental health conditions (MHCs) continue to be a pressing global concern, but their correlation with work intensification has received limited attention in research. This knowledge gap is particularly apparent within the context of higher education in the United Kingdom, where female academics face unique challenges. To bridge this divide, a new Swansea University research project is now under way, aimed at exploring the experiences of female academics with MHCs in the contemporary workplace, particularly within intensified working conditions.

Funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust and led by Dr Hadar Elraz, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour, the project will undertake a qualitative exploration to uncover how female academics navigate their professional lives while coping with mental health conditions.

This pioneering study will seek to identify the strategies these individuals employ to manage performance expectations and assess the support provided by their organisations, along with how it is perceived. Moreover, the research will contribute to ongoing equality and diversity discussions in the field, providing valuable insights that can inform policy development and contribute to creating more supportive and inclusive work environments.

The qualitative exploration will encompass a wide geographical range across the UK, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of female academics with MHCs. Additionally, the project will also gather perspectives from academic sector managers who oversee employees with mental health conditions, thereby incorporating organisational insights into the study.

Dr Elraz said: "We are embarking on a crucial journey to shed light on the often overlooked intersection of work and mental health experiences among female academics in the UK's higher education sector. Our study aims to uncover the challenges they face, and with improved understanding of their experiences, we can hopefully draw greater awareness to the interface between mental health, gender and intensified working conditions and consequently the impact this may have on individuals and organizations. We welcome those who identify themselves as female to take part in the study."

Anyone wishing to express an interest in participating in the study should complete this form or email hadar.elraz@swansea.ac.uk

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