By Nicolas Tilli, Colloquium Co-organisator, Lecturer in Communication Sciences, Université Toulouse Capitole, France.
Surprisingly in 2020, tackling the topic of mental health and discrimination is still not easy. Yet it should simply be a matter of well-being, health, quality of life and society like any other.
Understanding the issues around the theme of mental health and discrimination is not easy. Indeed, it is necessary to approach multidisciplinarily and interculturally their different facets and stages: the individual, the family, the social, the professional, the physical, the emotional, the psychological, but also the environmental, the economic. , the legal, the communicational, the political …
This multifactorial approach should facilitate the essential understanding that will allow effective operational decisions to be taken for the promotion of mental health and the fight against discrimination. However, the way in which these themes are often treated is quite different and is characterized by several negative signs: taboo, suffering, misinformation, stigma, fear, exclusion, isolation, and very often through inaction.
Specifically, the treatment of this theme within universities is no exception. Indeed, it manifests itself in the same negative manifestations and confirms that today the needs are proportional to the deficiencies. However, universities are real players in our modern societies.
As a result, they occupy and play a fundamental societal role. Unfortunately, with regard to the policies and provisions adopted to fight against discrimination and to promote the promotion of mental health, the gap between the universities is very marked and the findings are largely disappointing.
This inventory makes it possible to specifically focus the debate around the university given its responsibility as a social actor and to analyze internally this complex situation characterized by: on the one hand, the law that structures, separates and made third party; and, on the other hand, reality, where the symbolic is linked with the imaginary, marked by sometimes limited strategies.
How to understand this unequal situation in function and within universities?
This postulate, which disturbs certain hierarchical bodies, reveals a paradox which poses the starting point of an interrogation around their positioning with variable geometry.
Faced with this situation, the topicality and importance of which are more than obvious, especially in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, this communication attempts to raise the debate around a major dilemma in which universities occupy a central place .
Therefore, this communication has a dual purpose. At first, it claims to invite the actors concerned first, to analyze in order to understand: the current situation, very often characterized by “failure”; then to understand in order to adapt the “speeches” put in place. And secondly, its ambition is to bring out “movements for change” within universities in order to propose a participatory reflection on “alternatives” that are more inclusive and more respectful of rights concerning the fight against discrimination and the promotion of of mental health in higher education institutions.