The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 12

Julie M. Koch * Lindsay Murrell * Douglas Knutson * Dillon J. Federici

budgets did not increase over the previous year
(Reetz et al., 2015). Consequently, resources
may fall short of demand, and college counseling centers may benefit from maximizing
services whenever appropriate and possible
(Gallagher, 2012b). Although many college
counseling centers may find success in strategies to adapt to increased demands, for many
campuses, the prevalence of mental health concerns and the number of students not receiving
services might influence students' interactions
with other departments. That is, other student
affairs professionals in direct contact with
students such as resident directors, resident
assistants, residential learning community advisors, conduct professionals, and multicultural staff may encounter students' mental health
concerns more frequently.
Residence life professionals and paraprofessionals are frequently the first people to
notice mental health concerns in students
and, similarly, often the first people students
inform (Coulter et al., 2003). For example,
faced with barriers to psychological services
(e.g., stigma, traditional hours of operation),
students experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, or other manifestations of psychological distress may reach out to familiar
resident assistants who already support these
students in other ways. The access and trust
associated with residence life staff suggest
that residence halls are promising points of
intervention to promote mental and emotional
well-being (Mowbray et al., 2006; Orchowski
et al., 2011). Approaches such as counselor-inresidence initiatives (Orchowski et al., 2011)
demonstrate innovative, financially conscious,
and effective methods to integrate mental
health services and residence life. Additionally,
12

Residence life professionals and
paraprofessionals are frequently the
first people to notice mental health
concerns in students and, similarly,
often the first people students
inform.

it may also be beneficial to consider proactive
ways in which residence life staff can incorporate strategies that cultivate mental and emotional well-being into their existing roles. More
specifically, consideration of proactive mental
health components enables more efficient
use of resources; these features can be integrated into programming that already occurs
in residence halls without requiring extensive
training or overburdening staff with additional
responsibilities.

RESEARCH FRAMEWORK:
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
One framework we may use to address the
issues related to mental well-being faced by
college students is offered by positive psychology, which is defined as " the study of positive emotion, positive character, and positive
institutions " (Seligman et al., 2005, p. 410).
Three constructs investigated by positive psychologists that may yield benefits for work
with college students are character strengths,
well-being or life satisfaction, and social group
participation. These seem particularly relevant to college students, as the field of positive psychology places importance on social

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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