The article by a lecturer about not disclosing her mental illness was excellent (“Illness: I keep mine hidden”, Opinion, 16 April). I find it a privilege to do interesting research and to have the freedom of academic life, but it can be lonely as a contract researcher with no demands to be in the office, no obvious peer group and the expectation that workers will make their own professional networks. My colleagues are gifted, ambitious and driven young academics, some of whom may need more support than they get. As a result, they may end up feeling that they can’t cope, are at fault and are failures. Academic life is especially pressurised and anomic now, and academics need support and a more open, cooperative environment than is available in many institutions if they are to fulfil their potential.