Cactus Foundation Mental Health Survey

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Update: December 2020. We have an exciting new report available - How to foster a supportive research environment.
Fill the form below to get access to both survey reports! >>


13,000 researchers gave us their views on what a more nurturing research culture would look like

Read insights from Joy and Stress Triggers – the largest and most diverse global survey on mental health among researchers.
Then continue the conversation on the R Voice community

For media enquiries, please contact


Read the reports and continue the conversation on R Voice

About the reports

  • 13,000+ participants globally
    Largest global survey on researcher mental health and wellbeing
  • Responses from 160+ countries
    Strong representation from around the world, including the top 10 research producing countries
  • Diverse sampling
    Covers all academic career stages with strong representation of minorities
  • 5,000+ Researcher insights
    Powerful suggestions reflecting changes the global researcher community would like to see

Why you should download the reports

If you are a researcher
  • Understand joy and stress triggers of researchers like you
  • Gain productive insights on managing highs and lows in your work environment
  • Share with relevant people at your institution who can offer support
If you are a university
  • Understand challenges and stresses your researchers might be experiencing
  • Get actionable takeaways on how you can support them better
  • Show your commitment as an institution that truly cares about researcher wellbeing
If you are a publisher or funder
  • Understand factors that may influence research productivity and output
  • Identify how you can help improve the research environment through policy changes
  • Share meaningful insights with other decision-makers to amplify the conversation and initiate change

Here are some perspectives shared by survey participants

Hold supervisors accountable for their PhD students' welfare. Put in place mentor training that takes into account issues of being a foreign national, and the toxic culture in academia. Give awards to profs/students that advocate and create change around mental health.
Policies need to be put in place for postdoc working conditions, e.g. regulation of teaching and supervision obligations... I'm still just a postdoc on a fixed-term contract, but I'm supervising staff/students and running 3 projects to the same level as my tenured colleagues. So... the university gets my grant overhead money, and don't have to pay me a penny or offer me anything permanent.
Be aware of the stresses that the graduate students are under, and don't assume that because they're doing a good job of handling the work they have, that they are automatically able to take up additional projects.
I think the organizations in academia are already doing their best. The problem is the overall academic culture: how progress is evaluated at a global scale and the little government funding available.
The culture needs to change. The expectation that everyone needs to be constantly working, no matter what is incredibly damaging. Publications need to not be the only metric of success.
Value impact, not impact factor. Realise that pressure and exploitation don't lead to the best science. Value people holistically and not just as data producers. Abolish the old boys club.

Distribution Partners

Several universities, research institutions, and organizations extended support
towards this cause and were our distribution partners for this survey

  • Participating organizations
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Amplification Partners

We appreciate the support of our partners who are helping us amplify our survey findings among relevant stakeholders in the academic community

  • Amplification Partners
  • Amplification Partners
  • Amplification Partners
  • Amplification Partners
  • Amplification Partners

Analytics & Reporting Partner

  • Analytics Partner

Independent Consultant

  • Indepdendent Consultants

Discussion Partner

R Voice is a safe space created for researchers to come together and be themselves, be it bringing forth their academic side or sharing some of their personal achievements and struggles.

The people behind this initiative

Core Team

This project is being driven by individuals who are passionate about researcher success and giving
researchers a voice to make academia better.

Clarinda Cerejo
Senior Director, Thought Leadership, Cactus Communications
Mriganka Awati
Academic Research Specialist, Cactus Communications
Andrea Hayward
Senior Associate, Global Community Engagement, Cactus Communications

Advisors & Collaborators (13)

We have collaborated with active researchers and mental health advocates to make this survey more powerful.

Dr. Furaha Asani
Mental health advocate, researcher, teacher, creative writer, PhD in Infection and Immunity
Dr. Caven Mcloughlin
Fulbright Scholar, academic trainer, journal editor, Professor Emeritus, Kent State University
Rianna Walcott
Writer, activist, musician, and London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP)-funded research scholar, King's College, London
Dr. Lorie Owens
Developmental Editor of The Ohio State University's Theory into Practice journal, Muskingum University graduate studies lecturer
Dr. Samara Linton
Doctor, Writer, Content Creator, Co-editor of The Colour of Madness
Dr. Elliot C. Brown
Neuroscientist, scientific advisor, mental health advocate, Senior Research Fellow, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Prasha Sarwate Dutra
Founder, Podcaster, Keynote Speaker, Diversity & Inclusion Advocate, Engineer, STEMinist
Dr. Nadia Idri
Researcher, Senior Lecturer at University of Bejaia, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Studies in Language, Culture, and Society, EMICOB Research Team Chair in the LESMS lab
Dr. Fanuel Muindi
Founder of STEM Advocacy Institute (SAi)
Victor Ugo
Medical Doctor, Founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, Senior Campaign Officer at United for Global Mental Health
Dr. Mary McMillan
Lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University of New England, Armidale - BSc (Hons), PhD, Grad Cert Tertiary Education
Dr. Emily Moye
PhD in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, post-doctoral fellowship at Auburn University, mental health advocate
Joyce Wangari
Doctor of Psychology, PsyD, Clinical Psychology Candidate

Cactus Foundation is an initiative by Cactus Communications aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and it aims to help researchers grow and create global impact through their research.

It was established to build a more just, equal, and inclusive society by providing grants, business support, education, and other initiatives to the global research community as well as to aspiring next-generation researchers.

Our aim is to contribute to improvements in the quality of life and the greater prosperity of human society. Our commitment to society compels us to create meaningful change that is not only based on appearances but on enabling real impact to solve society's problems.