Tales in Language, Confidence, and Learning Environments: Exploring Students’ Mental Health Through Literacy Narratives
Existing literature specific to student mental health is predominantly based in health studies. This positionality does not sufficiently consider the role of the classroom in the lives of students facing mental health challenges. This project sought to advocate the bridging of scholarship concerning mental health within health studies with the field of rhetoric and composition in order to open a dialogue for subsequent case studies. Specifically, this project looked at three commonplaces across two literacy narratives from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) to consider how the “literacy myth” (Graff) challenges, extends, and reveals the ways in which academic and mental health literate practices are rooted in learning environments. This project also considered the constraints of said learning environments and, further, the role of confidence when accessing mental health literate practices. Originally arguing that literacy narratives are a key component in student mental health efforts, this study ultimately calls for more inclusive research of mental health discourse within the field of rhetoric and composition. In this way, mental health discourse is positioned to expand beyond one-dimensional, prescriptive boundaries into better availability for all students.