A Family Picture of Just One? Including Career Health, Engagement, and Identity into the Representation of Student Well-Being

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Trending discourses in post-secondary student health are relevant to the practice of counselling psychologists. Over the past decade, conversations on well-being have been dominated by mental health issues as if we are looking at health with a high-resolution zoom-focus instead of a wide-angled lens. The focus on mental health was necessary, but research is showing that we need to reconnect mental health with its physical, social, spiritual, and intellectual relatives. Further health areas like career development, engagement, and identity also need to be added back into the frame. Career development can be understood as a unique health construct in its own right and is especially relevant to the post-secondary sector. The association between student engagement and success has been well studied, and the link with overall well-being is being uncovered. There has been a corresponding call for institutions to dismantle colonization practices and create opportunities for active citizenry among the student populace. Identity constructs are also being linked with health, including intersectionality, fluidity, and non-binary facets. Developments in each of these domains challenge the status quo of what it means to be healthy, and pulling back from the singular focus on mental health will allow the complete picture of student health to come into view. Psychologists working with this dynamic population are invited to consider how these shifts in the health conversation impact their counselling practice.
post-secondary, health, counselling psychology, students, emergent adults
Miller, J. (2019). A family picture of just one? Including career heath, engagement, and identity into the representation of student well-being. Proceedings from the 2018 Canadian Counselling Psychology Conference, 81-96.