Rethinking “students” and “wellbeing” in Danish Higher Education

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The number of young people with mental health problems have increased considerably in Denmark, and in the Nordic and western countries (Kolouh-Söderlund et al., 2016). This applies to young people in Higher Education (HE) as well. This development cannot in itself be accounted for as a mere consequence of including more (and more differentiated groups of) young people in HE. It can be seen as symptomatic of a highly competitive, performance oriented and accelerated educational culture (Rosa, 2014). Furthermore, cultural understandings of ‘students of HE’ and ‘young people with mental health issues’ seem to be mutually exclusive – making students with psychosocial problems incomprehensible figures (still) shrouded in stigma, met with reluctance. This calls for rethinking of becoming, being and well-being in HE. This entails discussions of who ‘students of HE’ and ‘young people with mental health issues’ are and are (implicitly) considered to be (Ulriksen, 2009), of what well-being in HE is about, and of differentiated and sustainable solutions in future universities and academic cultures. I present work in progress from the “Student Life Project” (2018-2021). The research project explores how we can understand and support young people with mental health problems, and at the same time relate to them as active, resourceful participants in (academic) communities. We follow 75 students of Danish HE, in a qualitative research design, exploring problems and potentials from their perspectives. Concurrently, we work with partners from universities, university colleges and NGOs to share knowledge, rethink and develop well-being and support for students in HE.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date14 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2019
EventNYRIS2019: Narrowing paths - Transgressive routes - Center for Rusmiddelforskning, Århus, Denmark
Duration: 14 Aug 201916 Aug 2019


LocationCenter for Rusmiddelforskning
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