Not well enough: Acceleration, performance and psychologization in young people’s lives

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The pronounced increase in the number of young people struggling with mental health and wellbeing continue to puzzle researchers, politicians, and practitioners who struggle to comprehend this increase, the causes, and to find solutions. Discussions around this seem to fluctuate between individualistic and individualizing understandings of the problem matter and more structural, institutional, and cultural understandings. In this paper, we analyse how broader societal frameworks – ‘diagnosis of the times’ - linked to acceleration, performance and psychologization affect mental health and wellbeing of young people. Based on a longitudinal qualitative study in Denmark with 37 young men and women between the age of 16 and 24 all of whom to some extend struggle with their well-being, this paper unfolds parts of this complex web of structural, cultural, and institutional influences on mental health issues experienced by young people. The analyses are produced using a social-analytical lens of ‘diagnosis of the times’ to explore how young people’s subjective everyday life experiences of wellbeing and wellbeing struggles must be understood as interlinked with broader societal frameworks and expectations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Publication statusSubmitted - 2023

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