LifeShops Outreach Tools & Services
As Counseling Centers and, more broadly, campus mental health as a profession, continues to evolve with the rapidly changing world of Education, it feels important to maintain a spirit of reflection and a mindset that favors curiosity and creativity in our work.
For now, the thoughts and opinions reflect the ideas and interests of the founder of LifeShops Outreach Tools and Services. In time, hopefully, this website will grow and this section will include submissions from colleagues who are interested in joining the conversation regarding the work we all do to enhance students' lives and enhance campus communities striving to promote mental health and enrich student development.
BEYOND MENTAL HEALTH: Counseling Center professionals are facing greater and greater challenges to keep up with the demand for services. This might have something to do with how we are defining "mental health." Taking a look at the current state of college mental health, including a look at how we got here, might help guide us to where and how we move away from the current "college mental health crisis" we are confronted with. TREATING THE CAMPUS: Most college counseling services maintain individual counseling as the primary form of delivery. While this is a necessary service for many students, it is doubtful that this model is sustainable, given the increasing demand for services. A paradigm shift toward treating the campus may be the adjustment colleges have needed to not only manage the demand for services....but also broaden the ways they fulfill their academic and student affairs missions. From Mental Health to Mindsets: While the paradigm of "mental health" certainly has some important functions, relying too much on this inherently medical conceptualization of our student struggles may limit the creativity and effectiveness of helping our students. Primarily, "mental health issues" tend to refer to the experience of the individual. A shift toward Mindsets allows for a focus on individuals as well as an examination of trending norms and mentalities, on a community level. "...What You Do For a Living": It is a rare semester that a student or campus colleague does not utter the familiar confession, "I could never do what you do for a living...." Usually, what follows that phrase is some reference to a miserable experience of perpetual negativity. Perhaps a clarification....a more intimate sharing of what that experience is like might offer the entire campus another way of viewing the "college mental health crisis" in a way that might help everyone understand and address the work we do in college counseling endeavors.