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Perceptions and Experiences of Self-Care Among Students with Mental Health Struggles

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Title: Perceptions and Experiences of Self-Care Among Students with Mental Health Struggles
Author: Gordon, Loa
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Public Issues Anthropology
Advisor: Kawano, Satsuki
Abstract: In this thesis, I explore self-care as a useful and noteworthy configuration of care among students with mental health struggles at the University of Guelph. Self-care practices are diverse and fluctuating in nature, addressing the context-dependent wellness needs of students. I demonstrate that self-initiation is an important component of effective self-care, which challenges hegemonic medical models and underscores students’ experiential health expertise. By integrating a critical disability studies perspective, I highlight the systemic, structural barriers that complicate students’ access to self-administered care, including the inconsistent provision of academic accommodations, normalized pressures of uninterrupted productivity, and overwhelming responsibilities at a difficult transitional period in the life course. I argue that self-care is an agentic act performed by post-secondary students despite and in spite of institutional challenges they face as both students and patients.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/14715
Date: 2018-12
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