Edinburgh Branch Virtual Seminar

Understanding Student Mental Health: Difficulty, Deflection and Darkness
Dr Emma Farrell and Dr Áine Mahon

15:00 – 16:10 GMT
The seminar will be held on Zoom. Details on how to join the session will be emailed to all those registered to attend a day or two before the event is due to take place.  All are welcome.

Register here.

With a particular focus on the experience of young people in Higher Education, this paper turns to the philosophical work of Cora Diamond to open up new ways of conceptualising mental health. We claim that Diamond offers compelling insight into that experience of human difficulty so often subsumed by a medicalised vocabulary. We propose that she offers philosophically astute perceptions of the related human attempts at deflection (as when those same difficulties are avoided because of their lack of fit with the established discourse). And we situate this reading of Diamond against a broader understanding of the contemporary university as a place of institutional darkness. In developing this general discussion, we place ourselves within a very particular context. We draw on the narrative landscapes of a number of third-level students in Ireland, who shared their experiences as part of a hermeneutic phenomenological study into the lived experience of mental health difficulties.

Emma Farrell is a senior post-doctoral research fellow at the School of Education, University College Dublin. Her primary research area is mental health and well-being and she is particularly interested in the ways we, as a society, think about and make sense of mental health. Emma is a founding member of Jigsaw, Ireland’s National Centre for Youth Mental Health and her expertise on mental health has resulted in a number of appointments to national and governmental advisory boards.

Áine Mahon is Assistant Professor in the School of Education at University College Dublin. Her primary research areas are Philosophy of Education and Philosophy of Literature. Áine’s first monograph, The Ironist and the Romantic: Reading Richard Rorty and Stanley Cavell, was published by Bloomsbury in 2014. With Andrew Taylor of the University of Edinburgh, she has co-edited Stanley Cavell, Literature and Film: The Idea of America (London and New York: Routledge, 2013); and with Clara Fischer of Queen’s University Belfast, she has co-edited Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Ireland (London and New York: Routledge, 2020). Áine’s forthcoming edited collection, Philosophical Readings of the Contemporary University: In Shadows and Light will be published by Springer in 2021.

Sponsored by:

The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain and The Philosophy of Education Research Group at Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh.

Series organiser:

Dr Andrea English, andrea.english@ed.ac.uk