Critical Reflections on Mental and Emotional Distress in the Academy


  • Linda J. Peake York University
  • Beverley Mullings Queen's University


mental health, mental wellness


A rising number of students seeking mental health services across university campuses in Europe and North America has prompted faculty, administrators and student service providers to call attention to what some describe as a crisis. Academic geographers, however, have not yet begun to explore a collective and professional response to this crisis. In this article, we seek to examine what a critical commitment to addressing emotional and mental distress in the academy might look like, discussing the different understandings of what is meant by mental health and its manifestations in the academy as the ‘new normal’. We seek to understand the crisis in mental and emotional distress through a portrayal of the neoliberalization of the academy and conclude by imagining a different kind of academy, exploring how the spatialized practices that produce it can be differently enacted.

Author Biographies

Linda J. Peake, York University

Professor, Department of Social Science

Beverley Mullings, Queen's University

Associate Professor, Queen's University




How to Cite

Peake, L. J., & Mullings, B. (2016). Critical Reflections on Mental and Emotional Distress in the Academy. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 15(2), 253–284. Retrieved from