Mental Health Care in exceptional times


General Tips

  • Crank up the communication – Reach out to others for your and their sake. Sharing your experiences and worries with others can help and make you and them feel better. Take advantage of all the digital communication tools available and find the one that works best for you (audio calls, video calls, chat groups, …). Why not invite people for a digital tea or coffee break? Or play some virtual board or card games at the regular games nights with other IST members?
  • Find buddies – Besides professional online meetings, you might have, find one or a few people for regular check-ins. Such regular connections can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Set yourself goals, professional as well as personal – This way, you get back a certain level of control. You can even communicate your goals to your buddies and ask them to follow-up.
  • Structure your day – Even under such exceptional circumstances, try to maintain a daily routine.
  • Go outside – Fresh air and a change of environment (while adhering to the government recommendations) can do wonders.
  • Do physical exercise – This will help you to reduce stress. Find the indoor activity that works for you. Ask friends for suggestions, browse the internet for workout movies, etc.
  • Look for distraction – Make sure that the Coronavirus is not the only topic you read and talk about. Find other activities to distract your mind in your free time, such as reading a good book, playing an instrument, cooking a nice meal, or watching a good movie.


Feeling alone

If you feel in need of a chat because you feel lonely, or because confusing thoughts or feelings are popping up, feel free to write an e-mail to any of the following five people below. They will get back to you as soon as possible. They’d be very happy to have a chat with you. They will try to answer questions you might have, or refer you to other support resources if needed:

Finally, do not hesitate to write to Samira Baig, our Occupational Psychologist, for counseling. She is available for telephone and/or online consultations. For an appointment, please contact her directly by e-mail.


Some tips on what to do if you are feeling alone

Get out of your room. Seek contact. Try not to be shy. Tell others you need to talk, by audio or video call. Sun helps fresh air, too just as any physical activity. Importantly:

  • Accept your feelings – Confusing and fast-changing emotions are typical in a crisis. Feelings you may experience can range from hope, eagerness to help, enjoyment of deceleration to feelings of stress, being overwhelmed, helplessness, anxiety, and feelings of meaninglessness and emptiness. They might appear and perhaps change quickly. Avoid making any important decisions when you experience this high-paced change of emotions.
  • Remember your strengths – In a crisis, our focus is automatically set on our anxieties and all the things that don’t work. In order to create a healthy psychological balance, actively think about all the things that do work, the good news is also out there, and all the resources that are at our disposal to deal with the situation.
  • Contact the IST support people mentioned above.


Occupational psychologist

Samira BAIG, our occupational psychologist, is usually every second Friday from 9:00 till 12.00 for your consultation on campus. Just send her an e-mail to make an appointment.  She deals strictly confidential with any information!

Since March 2020, she is also available for online consultations. If you work in home office, you also can visit her directly in her office in Vienna.

Here are the dates Samira Baig will be on campus (Updated on October 13, 2020):

  • November 06 (Petra Kain)
  • November 20
  • December 04
  • December 18

You will find her in the hideaway room, which is in the Central Building, I01.01.016 (at the end of the Mondi hallway).


24 hrs emergency (off campus) availability by phone

If you need to talk to someone during nights or on weekends, please call 142. They offer an open ear 24/7.

For psychiatric support, please contact the 24/7 hotline 01 31 330.

  • 142 Telephone Counseling  / Telefonseelsorge
  • 01-31330 Psychiatric Immediate Help / Psychiatrische Soforthilfe


Further information – useful links

Mental health at IST Austria – with updated Wiki Page / mit geänderter Wiki Page 😊

Mental health in academia

Desiree Dickerson, a former IST postdoc, has collected different links concerning mental health in academia on her website and is continuously updating it. You can check it out here:


We will be monitoring the need to offer more support on a regular basis. For any questions or feedback, do not hesitate to contact EHS.