Write Smarter: Feel Better uses evidence-based productivity techniques to provide structure and support for graduate researchers. Our app offers individual support away from campus, providing a structure for tracking progress, encouraging goal setting and using evidence-based principles for staying motivated. Our in-person program augments usual university and supervisor offerings, by connecting graduate researchers with trained peers who understand the challenges of productivity during a long research project.
More than half of PhD students report experiencing psychological distress during their candidature. Similar problems are reported by other types of graduate researchers as well. Write Smarter: Feel Better prioritises a proactive approach which encourages graduate researchers to identify potential wellbeing problems early, develop strategies to manage problems by themselves if possible, and directs them to services within their own university if they need more support.
An important aspect of Write Smarter: Feel Better is the destigmatising stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. We consistently hear from universities that the writing component of the program attracted graduate research students who would otherwise have been reluctant to participate in a wellbeing program. Delivering ‘mental health by stealth’ in this manner captures graduate researchers who are not in crisis and so are better positioned to receive, consider and enact proactive wellbeing strategies.
Write Smarter: Feel Better has three modules. Materials for our in-person model are provided to Universities free of charge. Our training program assists student support teams to get the program up and running, and trains graduate researchers to act as peer facilitators for the program. The Write Smarter: Feel Better app provides individual support away from campus, as well as helping facilitators know how to approach conversations about wellbeing.
Every aspect of Write Smarter: Feel Better has been based on scientific evidence and best practice psychology principles. It was originally piloted with cohorts of graduate researchers from four universities through the Australian Government funded Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health. As the program and reach has extended, we remain committed to these principles.