April 2019

The PhDepression LLC strives to be as transparent as possible. In doing so, we will be publishing our monthly business newsletter that is sent to our team of volunteers that help us operate.

The PhDepression LLC Newsletter: April 2019

Dear all,

It’s been a year since this project started as a small social media experiment to connect with other PhD students struggling with Depression or other mental illnesses. I had anticipated a group of no more than maybe a few hundred to a couple thousand. If someone had told me I would be writing directly to a global team of ~20 amazing people and collectively to a community of over 20,000 academics of all stages… I don’t know if I would have even started. Thank goodness for unpredictable outcomes. This has been incredible and it’s all due to your support, effort, and bravery.

These quarterly newsletters will tell you what we have accomplished and where we are going. This community is based on trust; through transparency and integrity I hope to maintain that.

First, yes, we are an LLC. This began in fall 2018 so as to protect our team from liability issues. It is technically a for-profit company that is running at a deficit. All of our team members are volunteer, as are our content contributors. We believe your personal stories should never be monetized, so we are going to move towards a resource and intervention-based model for company growth. Work should be paid for, and we are doing our best to make that happen. We will not profit as a company until we can compensate our content creators in some way. Much of our groups will continue to be volunteers, in part thanks to rules about getting paid for activities outside of academic responsibilities.

We will be starting a campaign to raise funds within the next few months. The merchandise push is part of the campaign, but is intended to pay for annual business licensing and creation of a website for a future project (foreshadowing for sure). We are collecting information to create a sustainable plan to allow our community to keep growing for years to come.

Lastly, we are moving to ensure that all content comes from personal or professional viewpoints. Every experience is different, but we want to speak only from perspectives that we understand. If you see a group not well-represented on our page, it is likely because we don’t have a writer for that content. We apologize for not being able to compensate you now for the work you do, but we deeply appreciate anyone willing to donate their time and effort to making this group more inclusive. If you want to write a post or article for us, we would love that.

We want to help our academic colleagues survive and thrive in this system while we work to change it for future generations. Thank you for believing in this project, for supporting each other, and for helping us to get better along the way.

Sincerely,

Susanna L. Harris

Founder and CEO of The PhDepression LLC
PhD Candidate at UNC Chapel Hill