Chapter 11 “Do You Feel Like :(“: Discursive Interventions in University Mental Health Rhetorics
Leslie R. Anglesey and Adam Hubrig
What is the most important takeaway from your chapter?
Destigmatizing seeking mental health support is not going to just happen overnight. While we’ve made significant progress socially, part of the work of ending the stigma requires that we revisit the sociomaterial infrastructures that create meaningful interactions for agential bodies. Paying attention to how institutions like universities frame conversations about mental health and mental health support for students can help us understand the strides we’ve made, but it also helps us chart a path forward as a field and as agents in our own institutions. In short, we must pay attention to how universities cause harm through ableist practices.
If you were making discussion questions for students (advanced undergraduates or early graduate students) to go along with your chapter, what would they be?
How does your own institution frame itself through its mental health resources? What messages about mental health does it communicate through these resources?
How does your own university resist ableism? How do they engage in ableism? Where are the sites of tension? At what levels would this ableism need to be challenged/countered?
What questions do you feel your chapter leaves un-examined or where would you go with it next?
The timing of our data collection for this project in the spring of 2020 helped us both to see opportunities for understanding how racialized violence is deflected in conversations about mental health in higher education. We need significantly more work than we were able to complete with our corpus that looks at how racialized violence is taken up (or deflected) by universities, especially at primarily white institutions.
Because our focus was on how universities frame mental health, what our chapter doesn’t explore is how users make sense of these mental health resource pages, what potential users (students, faculty, staff, members of the public) want, need, or expect from Health 2.0 resources maintained by universities. Shifting the site of research from the texts to producers or users could really deepen our understanding of MHR. There is also certainly room for more reflection on these topics at the intersections of MHR and access/usability studies.
Is there anything that you want those considering doing work in MHR to know?
As coauthors, we are both interested in how MHR might better center the voices of multiply marginalized people, and especially the perspectives of those with disabilities—who are too frequently spoken for while simultaneously ignored.