Mental Health Care in the College Community

edited by Jerald Kay, MD, and Victor Schwartz, MD. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, United Kingdom, 2010, 375 pages, $64.95 (paper).

Psychiatric and public health advances of the past several decades in both recognition and treatment of childhood disorders have resulted in a marked increase in the number of matriculating college students either requiring continued mental health care or seeking care for the first time during their college years. The resulting demand for services on campuses across the country spurred not only new directions in clinical service development, but a growing scholarly interest in the developmental and treatment needs unique to this age group. Jerald Kay and Victor Schwartz have assembled a comprehensive text that, in the course of 17 chapters, introduces the work of authors from college health services across the country and in the United Kingdom in response to this need.

The introductory 3 chapters of the text provide background context and a brief history of the Community Mental Health (CMH) Model and the College Counseling Services Model as well as the salient applications of CMH services to college mental health programming. The operational construction of a college mental health service is addressed in chapters 4 through 6, followed by chapters that focus on clinical topics of specific relevance to the college campus community and transitioning young adult student. Topics such as crisis intervention and working with families, as well as legal and ethical issues unique to this population, are covered in both specific and pragmatic detail.

The academic setting of the college or university campus implies a natural integration of mental health training programs into college mental health services. Two chapters are devoted to training curricula and the supervision of residents, psychologists, and social workers in the college mental health services setting. The final 5 chapters address special topics such as a public health and an international perspective in services planning, special clinical problems in this population, and conducting research in this setting.

Kay and Schwartz’s text breaks new ground in the attempt to assemble a comprehensive, yet compact resource for college mental health clinicians and health services administrators. The range in topics covered by the volume reflects the opportunities and challenges inherent to service modeling for a burgeoning population of young adults with increasingly complex diagnostic and intervention needs. It is clear that several chapters will, before long, grow into stand-alone texts, which can expand an in-depth discussion of treatment, program evaluation, or population-based planning for young adults in college communities. For example, chapters 3 though 8, which address administrative development and integration, generously support ongoing development and refinement of college mental health service models by virtue of their concrete and explicit approach to the service operation itself. As for the treatment chapters, I will look forward to further developments in clinical work with this developmental group and their families, in light of our evolving understanding of social and parental influence on the college experience, and as we disseminate the long-term outcomes of the ambulatory management of significant mental health disorders prior to matriculation.

I expect that we will hear further from this cohort of clinical innovators. It will be especially exciting to follow the growth and development of what may very likely become a new subspecialty clinical focus in mental health care.

Mary W. Roberts, MD

mroberts@med.wayne.edu

Author affiliation: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan. Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.