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College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It Hardcover – September 24, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787974676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787974671
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,089,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kadison, chief of mental health services at Harvard, and DiGeronimo (How to Talk to Your Kids About Really Important Things) are deeply concerned about the marked growth in serious mental health problems on campus: they note statistics showing that almost half of all students will become seriously depressed during their college career and may engage repeatedly in binge drinking. One in 10 undergraduates, they say, will seriously consider suicide. And the crisis is augmented, say the authors, by the cutbacks in mental health programs at many colleges due to budgetary considerations. Kadison and DiGeronimo do a commendable job of outlining the many stresses students face, such as academic pressure, financial problems, feelings of social inadequacy and, for women, a fear of sexual assault. In a stark chapter, the authors outline the self-destructive coping mechanisms adopted by those with emotional problems, including eating disorders, drug abuse, cutting and suicide attempts. Parents will find sensible suggestions for helping their children deal with college life. Most important, say the authors, is keeping the lines of communication open by listening to children without judgment or criticism. Parents, college counselors and administrators, and students themselves (to whom the last chapter is addressed) will find helpful, if sometimes disturbing, information here.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Kadison, chief of mental health services at Harvard, and DiGeronimo (How to Talk to Your Kids About Really Important Things) are deeply concerned about the marked growth in serious mental health problems on campus: they note statistics showing that almost half of all students will become seriously depressed during their college career and may engage repeatedly in binge drinking. One in 10 undergraduates, they say, will seriously consider suicide. And the crisis is augmented, say the authors, by the cutbacks in mental health programs at many colleges due to budgetary considerations. Kadison and DiGeronimo do a commendable job of outlining the many stresses students face, such as academic pressure, financial problems, feelings of social inadequacy and, for women, a fear of sexual assault. In a stark chapter, the authors outline the self-destructive coping mechanisms adopted by those with emotional problems, including eating disorders, drug abuse, cutting and suicide attempts. Parents will find sensible suggestions for helping their children deal with college life. Most important, say the authors, is keeping the lines of communication open by listening to children without judgment or criticism. Parents, college counselors and administrators, and students themselves (to whom the last chapter is addressed) will find helpful, if sometimes disturbing, information here. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly, August 30, 2004)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Dallas on December 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
by don dallas, ddallas10@yahoo.com

"Parents, your job is not over yet, " declared a flier given me at an orientation session for parents of freshmen. The flier warned me that the first eight weeks on campus will be "stressful". It also urged me to talk to my son about alcohol abuse on campus. Until then that college and all others presented themselves as blissful environments of intellectual and human growth. This was the first time it was suggested that college was stressful.

The stress, it turns out, often is longer and deeper. The most authoritative source on campus stress, College of the Overwhelmed, The Mental Health Crisis on Campus and What to Do About it, was published in October, 2004, by Richard Kadison, M. D., a psychiatrist who is chief of Mental Health Services at Harvard University, and Theresa Foy DeGeronimo, a writer specializing in parenting and education. Contrary to the impression many parents have had that it is time to leave the kids on their own, the book urges parents to be aware, informed, and watchful. Parents are the "best hope" , Dr. Kadison and Ms. DeGeronimo say. They must engage their college sons and daughters in open, adult-adult (yet non-intrusive) communications not just for eight weeks, but for all four or more of the college years. The book even advises parents to have a "crisis plan" ready in case their college-based children need emergency help. "It's ironic that just when you feel you are setting your children free they often need your support and attention more than ever before." One out of every two students becomes so depressed they cannot function at some point during their college career, it says. One out of two become binge drinkers.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By doctor_beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a psychologist who works in a college counseling center, and I wish that I could make this book required reading for the parents of every new student entering college. Main author Richard Kadison--Chief of the Mental Health Service at Harvard University Health Services--does an excellent job of outlining the many issues which college students face and the ways in which these issues are potentially hazardous to every student's mental health. He also provides extremely useful suggestions for what parents can do to help their college student as well as practical tips for the college students themselves. The only sections of the book which I found to be less effective were the chapter and appendix which focused on what colleges should be doing to address the mental health crisis on campus; this information seemed out of place in a book largely intended for parents. However, the remaining two appendices were more relevant, providing a summary of data from the 2002 American College Health Association Survey results as well as an overview of common medications used to treat psychological conditions. Overall, this a well-done, tremendously valuable book; highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Hackett on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With my fourth college freshman ensconced in college, I am sorry that I didn't have this book for reference with my other three children. Each student is different with different needs, stress indicators, and mechanisims for coping with college. This book clearly illustrates the number of ways kids react to college...both positive and negative. No one goes to college today without some form of stress either academically, socially, or emotionally. With the help of this book, college students and their parents have a chance at predicting the challenges and setting out a plan that is specific to preventing serious mental health issues from being so overwhelming. This is a great guide for coping and surviving these stressful years and perhaps leading to happiness and success.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elmer R. Kadison on October 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is very timely, and is of importance. There is a crisis out there, and parents and students need to recognize the problems of being depressed, and that there is something that can and should be done to cope with these disorders. The book is very well written, and easy to read. I feel this book should be read by every parent and every student so they can recognize the signs of depression, and get the help they need. It is a wake-up call, and a real contribtion to mental health. Dr.ERK
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lady Godiva on October 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My daughter is in her first year of college and experiencing some anxiety. I bought this book on advice from a friend, and found it invaluable. It's easy to read, very informed and informative. Dr. Kadison seems to have a special sensitivity for students. You sense that he really cares and therefore you really want to listen.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel M. on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this as part of a required graduate psychology course. It is very general for use by professionals, and seems a bit overstated for the average student's transition into college. Yes, it's written by a reputable source, and yes, there are real mental health issues and concerns facing students today, but the sense of imminent danger constantly present as described in this book is a bit superfluous.

This book would be helpful for parents, but warning --- this book will only make anxious parents even more so.
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