The Institute of Space, Territories, Culture and Communication Law (IDETCOM) of the University of Toulouse Capitole and the Laboratory of Pathological and Intercultural Clinics (LCPI) of the University of Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès, associated within the framework of a multidisciplinary and multicultural collaboration (Communication sciences, Law, Psychology), international and innovative (called "Communication for social change"), organize from October 26 to 27, 2020 in Toulouse an International Interdisciplinary Colloquium on " Mental health on university campuses facing contemporary challenges : from discrimination to COVID-19 ”.

Mental health on university campuses: a problem that is still under-explored in the humanities and social sciences.

University students have long been considered a privileged population, as have university staff members. Now, several signs of distress and mental suffering have been identified, which have a direct impact on the success of studies and the professional integration of students, but also on productivity and professional efficiency among university staff. This situation has important socio-economic and socio-health consequences.

The prevention and promotion of mental health within universities are subjects that are still under-studied in the humanities and social sciences and at the same time they have now taken a very significant place in the media: yet they have been the subject of numerous communications by the World Health Organization (WHO), and of provisions taken by the European and French public authorities. Indeed, the impact that mental health can have on students and on university staff (administrative or teaching) produces increasingly significant social and economic consequences and the situation does challenge public actors. The same issues, with the same documented occurence, is also observed in both Argentina, in the United States, in Spain and in Italy.

Mental health on university campuses facing contemporary challenges: from discrimination to COVID-19.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization established that humanity was beginning to go through a global pandemic. The global spread of this new disease has hit the heart of the operational structures of states in all countries, with social, economic, educational, legal, psychological, policies-related and communication-related consequences … the scope of which is still unknown today. During this period of social distancing, new alternatives were introduced and online work began to take centre stage.

In this context, organisations have had to adopt new communication strategies and policies: internal, external, political, in general, crisis planning.

This situation invites us to adapt, to innovate, to create. For this reason, it was decided to modify the Call for Papers originally planned for our Colloquium to reflect, in a way, the new contemporary challenges related to mental health on university campuses, such as: the importance of new uses and practices (professional and/or social), civil and institutional, individual and collective actions and the role of universities.

Covid-19 highlighted the role of information and communication and the importance of social representations, the circulation of the imagination and discourse in general. This key and strategic role of communication has been highlighted by all studies, of which a recent example is the publication of Harvard Business Review.

In general, the different approaches to the situation coincide in that this health crisis is combined with a very important consumption of information, where the credibility of the media has become more important, fake news has generated a lot of misinformation, the use of social media has been exponential, the use of digital tools has grown and the responsibility of journalism has become a concern.

Covid-19 has also generated a series of effects and consequences that affect various areas of daily life, including a multitude of areas of law and justice. In recent months, constitutional and supranational rights and freedoms have been restricted, many courts have ceased to function, citizens have seen limited access to many public services, many contracts have not been respected, etc.

In addition, Covid-19 is a major public health problem according to the European Federation of Associations of Psychologists. In the face of quarantine ordered by almost all countries, the measures of confinement caused a rupture of the social link causing, and increasing many difficulties related to loneliness, anxiety, fear, depression and anxiety, causing pain and trauma.

All these aspects have had an impact on the life of universities and in universities, students and teaching and administrative staff have been greatly affected by this situation.

Universities have had, and continue to have, a fundamental role in protecting mental health on their campuses even more today in these times of change.

A multi-year conference which is the fruit of an innovative and multidisciplinary collaboration.

It is in this international context that this conference is set up with an annual cycle logic. It is the fruit of an innovative and multidisciplinary collaboration, bringing together researchers in InfoCom, Law and Psychology, from the University of Toulouse Capitole, the University of Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès, the University of Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier, the Centre Hospitalier Gérard Marchant (in Toulouse), the University of Buenos Aires (in Argentina), the National University of Rosario (in Argentina), the Università degli Studi di Firenze (in Italy), the Universidad Complutense from Madrid, the University of Valladolid (in Spain) and finally from Florida International University, Florida State University, and the Fashion Institute of Technology - SUNY (in the United States).

The ambition of the 2020 edition in Toulouse.

This colloquium will follow the initial seminar which took place in Miami in October 2019. This second event will focus on “Mental Health on University Campuses: The Challenge of Discrimination”.

This conference will bring together a group of managers and stakeholders interested in the subject (health law, labor law, administrative law, health communication, organizational communication, engaging and change, clinical psychology, health psychology …), but will also open the debate to the general public and promote the transmission of knowledge and work in the field, as well as offer researchers in laboratories moments of exchange to build future collaborations and bring out an innovative theme with high impact.

This conference will therefore be addressed both to members of the academic and scientific community, but also to public and private organizations, professionals in the public and private sectors, students and, more broadly, the general public.

Several researchers, academics and professionals recognized for their expertise will take stock through plenary conferences on the state of knowledge and on the issues at stake. The various workshops will address the issues specific to each discipline (Information and Communication Science, Law, Psychology) and the workshops will give doctoral students the opportunity to present and communicate their research through poster sessions. Teachers, researchers and professionals will be able to move forward on joint research projects, and the private sector will have the opportunity to tell us about its implications and actions in this area.

(Updated May 2020)
As announced in the press release of the Organizing Committee of the symposium, due to the pandemic related to COVID-19, the conference #SMCU2020 adapts to the current circumstances: it will finally take place fully online, on 26 and 27 October 2020, and the axes and themes of the call for papers have been completely revisited, always within the framework of a pluridisciplinary approach around Communication Sciences, Law and Psychology.

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