I am applying to become a PhD student in some institutions. My master record isn't exactly perfect mainly because I didn't complete it in time: I should have completed it in two years but it took me far longer.
Now, during the master I have had some serious healthy and personal issues that can partially justify not finishing in time: I had to stay several months in my hometown without the possibility to study or do anything university related because of a certain situation. Even when I came back to University it took me quite a bit of time to fully recover physically and mentally.
I wish I could tell this in my application since it can be important to not put me at a strong disadvantage with respect to people that took one year less than me to get to this point.
Should I talk about this?
If yes, where and how? I was thinking about writing a few lines in the cover letter but I have no idea how detailed such things should be. From one side I wouldn't like to give detailed informations on my personal issues to random people and from another side I'd like to be clear on how affected I was by them. I'd also like to be extremely clear that this issues, in my opinion, don't completely justify my delay in finishing the study.
Maybe I should simply not worry about it and just apply and see what it comes out of it, but I'm not in a mood to waste chances right now.
Clarification: the question refers to the programs that require some sort of cover letter/personal statement, as far as regards the programs that don't require it, I can do nothing about them.