Philosophical musings on mental health and wellness in post-pandemic academic libraries


Mental Health Week has been recognized across Canada since 1951, yet mental health issues continue to be stigmatized. While there has been much more focus on wellness in the workplace in recent years, and while this focus has grown in salience and ubiquity during the pandemic, much more change needs to occur. As Greenwood and Anas (2019) explain: “It’s not enough to simply offer the latest apps or employ euphemisms like ‘well-being’ or ‘mental fitness.’ Employers must connect what they say to what they actually do.” Long standing conversations around wellbeing originating in the fields of psychiatry and disability studies can be instructive as we collectively reimagine what shape wellness and mental health supports ought to take. Academic librarians perform diverse functions, thereby requiring different institutional supports. Moreover, while some stressors are shared by all employees, others are unique to particular roles. Librarians working in academic libraries, therefore, not only encounter different barriers due to their unique personal circumstances, but also because the variety of functions cannot always be equally accommodated by the same overarching institutional structures. This presentation argues that when the philosophical grounding of the social model of disability is applied to the context of librarian wellbeing in academia, the emerging vision for the promotion of mental health and wellness in the workplace ought to take the shape of highly flexible (and individualized) workplace policies responsive to individual needs within the bounds of their professional functions.

Jun 6, 2022 10:00 AM