I’m not sure if any of our London folk are going to this conference, which is being held today, but it would be excellent to get feedback. The questions being raised need answering by all those wedded seemingly uncritically to notions of wellbeing and the rise of a mentally unhealthy younger generation. Somewhere, gathering dust, I’ve got the notes of contribution I made to a conference on wellbeing. I should blow off the cobwebs and post it sometime.
What future in mind? Critical Perspectives on Youth Wellbeing and Mental Health.
DATE AND TIME: Fri 18 May 2018 from 10:00 to 16:00
LOCATION: 152-153 – Cayley Room, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2HW
Amidst mounting concern over wellbeing and mental health, improving the state of mind of the young has become a preoccupation of Western economies. In the UK politicians, celebrities and even key members of the British monarchy have campaigned on the issue, demanding earlier intervention to support wellbeing, resilience and positive mental health in schools. More critical voices have drawn attention to the social and structural conditions shaping wellbeing, arguing that the problematization of personal development deflects from the politics of distress in a context of brutal austerity and rising levels of poverty and inequality.
Yet enthusiasm for classroom-based social and emotional training and mental health education is evident in many other national contexts, spanning a range of political and economic frameworks.
This day seminar will examine how concepts of wellbeing and mental health are being applied to children and young people, and will critically explore how positive minds and futures are being envisaged by policymakers. Questions to be discussed include:
Why is state intervention in the social and emotional lives of children and young people increasing in these regions? Can it improve lives and increase happiness or does it instead seek to foreclose the future for the next generation, securing a problematic (unhappy) status quo?
As late capitalism is buffeted by global economic crises are the minds of the young increasingly coveted as key sites to anchor and stabilize market based rationality?
Can the concept of wellbeing be reclaimed as a socially located experience or is it necessarily a personalised, psychological variable?
What alternative ways are there to understand and support the best interests and wellbeing of young people?