WhatsApp Image 2020-03-20 at 13.34.41.jp


Mental Health on University Campuses : the discrimination challenge.

Converging perspectives : Communication, Law and Psychology.

  • #SMCU2020






















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 25 to 27, 2020 in Toulouse an International Interdisciplinary Colloquium on " Mental health on university campuses: the challenge of discrimination. Crossed perspectives: InfoCom, Law, Psychology ”.

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.

Specialists from the United States, Argentina, Spain, Italy and France attached to a plurality of research laboratories (IDETCOMIMH, IRDEIC -UTCapitole-, LCPI -UT2J-, Lerass - UT3PS-, CEICC -UNR Argentina-, GCS -UBA Argentina-, CFGC -Firenze Italy-, FCI -Complutense Spain- and CARTA -FIU United States-) will meet in Toulouse for this unique scientific event in the humanities and social.

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.

Reminder of key dates for submission of communications

  • Opening of the site for the submission of communication proposals: January 21, 2020.

  • Opening of registration: January 21, 2020.

  • Deadline for submission of communications proposals (summary): May 15, 2020.

  • Notification of acceptance of communications proposals (summary): July 1, 2020.

  • Deadline for delivery of full texts of communications: September 1, 2020.

  • Notification of acceptance of full communications texts: October 1, 2020.

  • Date of registration end: October 15, 2020.

Areas chosen for communications proposals

Three main areas of work have been identified, areas which will constitute the main threads of two days of work.

  • 1st axis: Information and Communication Sciences and mental health

  • 2nd axis: Law and mental health

  • 3rd axis: Psychology and mental health

This triple approach will enhance multidisciplinarity in the humanities and social sciences around a common theme. It will put at the heart of the questions the suffering of the university population (students and administrative and teaching staff) and will allow:

  • Identify situations and actions that produce discrimination and stigma and study how they impact on access to care,

  • To understand how representations and perceptions impact on the phenomenon of discrimination and stigmatization,

  • To assess the personal, social, institutional and economic consequences of this suffering on university success, working conditions, health and well-being of students and university staff,

  • To analyze the problems linked to the respect of equality and the inclusion at university of people with special educational needs,

  • To present the existing initiatives in the fight against discrimination and stigmatization but also those in favor of the inclusion of people with special educational needs,

  • To propose alternatives to reduce discrimination as well as stigma and promote the inclusion of people with special educational needs,

  • Identify situations and actions that produce discrimination and stigmatization,

  • To understand how representations and perceptions influence the phenomenon of discrimination and stigmatization,

  • To assess the personal, social, institutional and economic consequences of this suffering on university success, the health and well-being of students, administrative staff and teacher-researchers,

  • Consider alternatives in terms of reducing discrimination and stigma, and

  • To offer operational thinking around respect for equality and the inclusion of people with special educational needs.

Timeliness of the subject

Talking about mental health is not easy. Yet it should just be a health issue like any other.

Indeed, mental health affects different spheres: for example the individual, family, social, physical, economic, emotional, psychic… However, the reality is quite different and is characterized by taboo, suffering, misinformation, stigma, discrimination, fear, sidelining and isolation [i].

Today suffering people (real “invisible handicap”) have to face a “societal stigma” (external and artificial source of suffering) generated in particular by the negative aspect of the diagnosis (which accompanies and labels the individual throughout his life), and of psychological suffering, but also through the stigmatizing and discriminatory social representations towards mental suffering and towards the person concerned, which are added to the own suffering of the disorder (internal dismemberment of the subject) and impact on access to care. Socio-cultural variables further complicate the situation of suffering (environmental aspect) and access to institutional care services.

To this general situation, we can add a particular one, that of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This situation invites us to question the same concerns in terms of academic success, work and the inclusion of these people with special educational needs (users of public services: education and health).

One thing is certain: the current situation reflects the existence of individual, family and community issues of exclusion and isolation (symbolic, imaginary and real), self-stigma, social segregation, not respecting the rights of citizens. , creating inequalities, which have an impact on access to care and generate negative socio-economic and socio-health consequences.

This issue reflects a number of contemporary concerns and is to be found in the various political agendas of modern societies concerned with psychosocial risks. The latter, defined as risks to mental, physical and social health, are generated by the conditions of employment and the organizational and relational factors likely to interact with mental functioning.

Importance of the subject

At university, having good mental health is a resource for successful studies, working in good conditions and protecting a perception of well-being. Poor mental health directly influences the daily life of students and university staff (teaching and administrative), affecting their ability to study, work and have a satisfactory social life.

Today, the number of students and university staff with mental health needs and problems is increasing steadily. The stakes are commensurate with the suffering and troubles present in the university population. Universities face major challenges in understanding these issues in order to advance their care on university campuses [ii].

The major concern is that, without treatment (upstream and downstream), these situations can promote academic failure, allow the appearance of severe mental pathologies (depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, burn-out, suicide attempts, etc.) and be the source of risky behavior (consumption of alcohol and drugs or medication, etc.). Concerning university staff, the importance of taking psychosocial risks into account is of increasing concern to public policies …

Despite this observation, we identify either absences or serious difficulties linked to the implementation of information policies and strategies on the subject, communication, prevention, training, health promotion and health promotion actions. 

Pluridisciplinary approach

According to the Report of the Strategic Analysis Council on Mental Health, but also according to the WHO Global Action Plan for Mental Health 2013-2020, this thematic area requires its multifactorial, multidimensional and multisectoral genesis [iii] , a multidisciplinary approach in order to understand the complexity of this problem. The stakes are commensurate with the suffering and troubles present in the university population.

This thematic aims to establish a reflection around mental health strategies which can be useful for raising awareness, understanding and advancing policies and actions aimed at prevention, communication, promotion, information and the fight against discrimination and Stigma. In this context, this complex reality deserves reflection on several levels.

The triangular relationship between InfoCom, Psychology and Law will make it possible to understand the problems linked to: prevention-promotion of mental health, fight against isolation, public policies to reduce discrimination-stigmatization (of suffering and the suffering person), social inclusion, respect for rights and freedoms, prevention of psychosocial risks in the public service, access to higher education and successful completion of higher education.

Under this approach, InfoCom finds its place through: communication for health, communication of organizations, engaging communication, health information, communication of change in organizations, the use of new communicative strategies, communication for social change and the study of representations and perceptions.

Besides the respect of fundamental rights and access to healthcare, the place of the Law is explained by the fact that the difficulties encountered in exercising these rights quite simply harm mental health. On the one hand, mental suffering has an impact on the rights of university students and university administrative and teaching staff, and on the other, violations of their rights also threaten their health.

In fact, not being able to exercise a certain number of rights and not being able to maintain them when they are threatened (attending studies, maintaining a job, accommodation, a residence permit, food …) inevitably has repercussions on their health and their citizenship.

Psychology will help to understand the processes at work in the emergence, maintenance or recurrence of classical and contemporary forms of expression of mental suffering within the university. Psychology gives way to an understanding of the psychological processes and factors at play when the student or the staff of the university (administrative or teaching) is confronted with an evolution of their health and this in order to set up actions of inclusion and prevention and health promotion programs.

This multidisciplinary approach focused on the humanities and social sciences will encourage unprecedented exploration and the development of programs and campaigns (targeting students and university staff) for training, interventions, prevention, promotion, and sometimes multidisciplinary, individual communication. or collective, intersectoral or not, in order to maintain, restore or reinforce the perception of the quality of life of students and university staff, taking into account the cultural and intercultural vector.


[i] Romeo, R., McCrone, P., & Thornicroft, G. (2017). The Economic Impact of Mental Health Stigma. In Mental Health Economics (pp. 401-414); and Springer, Cham; Clement, S., Schauman, O., Graham, T., Maggioni, F., Evans-Lacko, S., Bezborodovs, N.,… & Thornicroft, G. (2015). What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help-seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological medicine, 45 (1), 11-27. 

[ii] Michaels, P. J. & Corrigan, P. W. & Kanodia, N. & Buchholz, B. & Abelson, S. (2015). Mental Health Priorities: Stigma Elimination and Community Advocacy in College Settings. Journal of College Student Development 56 (8), 872-875 and Corrigan, PW, Kosyluk, KA, Markowitz, F., Brown, RL, Conlon, B., Rees, J.,… & Al-Khouja, M. ( 2016). Mental illness stigma and disclosure in college students. Journal of Mental Health, 25 (3), 224-230. 

[Iii] http://archives.strategie.gouv.fr/cas/system/files/rapport_sante_mentale_version_18nov09validdqs2.pdf