Counseling Center
 

Faculty/Staff Information

Students in Psychological Distress and/or with Mental Illnesses

During their time at Skidmore, students will typically make huge strides in their intellectual and psychological development. They may fall in love for the first time, with a person or a subject matter or a cause. They will likely experience failure and rejection on a scale that is new to them. They will struggle, we hope, to understand who they are and what matters to them in a world that looks more complicated than they ever realized. They will move to a new place, make new friends and build a life for themselves, and four years later they will be expected to repeat that process. They may not always recognize themselves, nor will their friends and families. All of this change, challenge and turbulence is ultimately usually a good thing.

Most college students make their way through these challenges and changes without serious incident. Some however, struggle more, suffer more and need help. There is growing evidence that the incidence of serious mental illness on American college campuses is increasing. More students are arriving on campuses already taking psychiatric medications, and Counseling Centers are reporting both an increased demand for services and an increase in the severity of student symptoms. Here at Skidmore, we are no exception to those national trends. Over the last eleven years, we have experienced a significant increase in both the number of students seen at the Counseling Center and in the number of appointments offered to those students. During the 2010-2011 academic year, 18% of the student population, almost 500 students, sought help at the Counseling Center for difficulties ranging from trouble sleeping to roommate conflicts to anorexia, depression and bipolar disorder.

The Role of Faculty and Faculty Advisors

Faculty members, because of their close contact with students, are in a unique position to notice students who might be distressed and struggling. An expression of interest and concern from the right person at the right time can make all the difference in the world. College should be, at different points, exciting, overwhelming, challenging and stressful. Ideally that stress is balanced with support, in the forms of teaching, advising, friendship, mentorship and other kinds of help. The vast majority of students with psychological difficulties will be able to have successful and productive academic careers, with appropriate support and intervention. We offer the following guidelines about helping students:

How to help

When to Refer

Any of the following signals would be reasonable grounds for suggesting to a student that he or she come in to the Counseling Center for an initial consultation. The Counseling Center is located on the first floor of Jonsson Tower, across from Health Services. We are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our services are confidential and free of charge to all currently enrolled Skidmore students. Students are welcome to call (580-5555) or stop by to set up an initial appointment.

How to Talk with Students about Your Observations and Concerns

If you have contact with a student that you believe may benefit from professional assistance, the following suggestions can make that conversation, or series of conversations, as productive as possible.

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