ERIC Number: EJ916771
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 4
Student Mental Health: Reframing the "Problem"
About Campus, v15 n4 p30-32 Sep-Oct 2010
In this article, the author contends that to understand the concern over student mental health, one must first consider what students are reporting about themselves. Students with mental health issues are intellectually capable; rising numbers of accepted students with diagnosed psychological conditions confirm this. However, many conditions interfere with learning because students isolate themselves, suffer related physical ailments, are distracted, and experience shame related to their illness. These symptoms can result in absences, late assignments, and careless mistakes. Distressed students live and work in tight communities where they can negatively impact their roommates, lab partners, coworkers, and friends. As a result, the psychological health of one affects the health and safety of all, and if preventative intervention does not occur, a cycle of crisis will perpetuate. Everyone has the opportunity to help break this cycle but they must understand how to do so in comfortable and appropriate ways. Inability to disrupt the cycle of crisis may be partially caused by what is referred to as an "effectiveness gap." The pervasiveness of mental health issues and psychological disabilities on campus makes effective and creative intervention imperative. Such creativity is dependent on administration, faculty, staff, and students acquiring knowledge about mental health issues, how distress may be recognized, and what resources already exist on campus to address these issues. This knowledge should be parlayed in a multidimensional approach that combines short-term therapeutic services with educational outreach, community support, and infrastructure for student empowerment. Thus, the campus is not made a treatment facility, but instead offers the tools for students to understand and negotiate the emotional, psychological, and intellectual components of these issues. In this way, students are not simply the "consumer"; they are roundly educated students who learn how to integrate the lessons of the curriculum and cocurriculum into their own lives and community. The passions of students for these issues are an untapped resource on many campuses, and when combined with institutional support, they are the gateway for long-term preventative education and support on campuses.
Descriptors: College Students, Mental Health, Campuses, Measurement Techniques, Academic Ability, Social Isolation, Emotional Disturbances, Intervention, Psychology, Community Support
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A