Rebecca Lester

Mental health in academia:

Hacks for cultivating and sustaining wellbeing


Mental health concerns among university populations are on the rise. Faculty and students report increasing levels of depression, stress, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. These mental health crises reduce overall wellness and inhibit the educational process. We identify uncertainty, financial stress, disruptions to social networks, burnout, and the contemporary social/political climate as key triggers for mental health crises for faculty and students. Faculty are in a position to provide support to one another and their students and as such, we provide strategies that attend to these triggers and complement other forms of intervention.

Dr. Lester’s work sits at the intersection of anthropology, psychiatry, religion, and gender studies. She is interested in how individuals experience existential distress, and how this distress manifests as psychiatric symptoms, religious angst, somatic pain, and other culturally informed bodily conditions.