‘No, I'm Not OK’: Disrupting ‘Psy’ Discourses of University Mental Health Awareness Campaigns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Mental health awareness campaigns are held at many universities around the world, and are increasingly seen as a means of reaching out to vulnerable populations in campus communities, and of reducing social stigmas and taboos pertaining to mental health issues. However, this chapter suggests that the ‘psy’ discourses of mental health awareness campaigns construct happiness, well-being, and work-life balance as desirable, attainable, and the obligatory duty of individuals, while mental ill-health is constructed as an avoidable, or manageable, malaise whose containment is treated as both devolved responsibility and celebratory occasion. Mental well-being, on the other hand, is constituted as a form of happiness that is simultaneously an unmarked, albeit obligatory duty, as well as a protection against personal crises, relational instability, and institutional risk. Drawing on events that took place on an Australian university campus during the week of one such campaign, I argue that these types of university-based mental health awareness campaigns operate technologies for harnessing mental health toward organisational gains, meanwhile ignoring, or over-simplifying, the systemic and social pressures which place the well-being of students and university workers under significant pressure. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterrupting the psy-disciplines in education
EditorsEva Bendix PETERSEN, Zsuzsa MILLEI
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages167-183
ISBN (Electronic)9781137513052
ISBN (Print)9781137513045
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Citation

Saltmarsh, S. (2016). ‘No, I'm Not OK’: Disrupting ‘Psy’ Discourses of University Mental Health Awareness Campaigns. In E. B. Petersen & Z. Millei (Eds.), Interrupting the psy-disciplines in education (pp. 167-183). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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