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Mental Health Care in the College Community

edited by Jerald Kay, and Victor Schwartz. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 396 pp., $61.95.

Reviewed by Richard Kadison, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2011;168:1123-1123. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11040614
View Author and Article Information
Cambridge, Mass.

The author reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Book review accepted for publication April 2011.

Accepted April , 2011.

Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

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Mental Health Care in the College Community provides a comprehensive exploration of the evolution and structure of college and university mental health services. The book offers an in-depth look at key aspects of college mental health from a variety of perspectives. This text runs the gamut, from the early history of student mental health and its links to the community mental health movement that emerged in the early 1960s to the challenges and opportunities faced by student mental health centers today. Each chapter is a self-contained summary of key issues on the campus setting, written by a group of experienced clinicians and researchers.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech and other campus tragedies, campus mental health has been in the spotlight, and a variety of very important issues have been raised. How do we identify high-risk students? How do we facilitate students accessing care? What can be done to reduce stigma? What kind of research is being done on campus? How about training? What treatment models work best on campus? How does psychiatry interface with the community at large? What are the legal obligations to the student and the community?

The unique aspects of a campus community are key elements in designing effective models of care. In her chapter, Dr. Lorraine Siggins talks about the relationship of the mental health service with the community at large. How much information can be shared with faculty and staff? What about campus safety? She describes the ways in which the mental health service (called Mental Health and Counseling at Yale) can be available for consultation and support to faculty, staff, and peers when they have concerns about a student. Sometimes, the conversation is a one-way communication because of privacy rules. Siggins also notes that the mental health service can play an important role in responding to campus crises. Outreach to students puts a face on the service and provides a great opportunity for educating students and residential staff. This helps with early recognition of problems by the whole community, greater awareness of available resources, and reduction of stigma that so often delays referral and treatment. She also discusses the mission of the service and how to best provide care for the whole community given the available resources.

Mental Health Care in the College Community provides an enormous amount of valuable information on a number of diverse topics pertaining to the campus setting. Working with parents, different models of care, suicide prevention, training programs, and working with special populations are just a few of the other issues discussed in this book.

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