The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - 44

R. Jason Lynch

trauma, the ratio of licensed mental health professionals to students remains high (Association
for University and College Counseling Center
Directors, 2016). High ratios potentially create
long wait times and limited capacity for longterm care. The types of traumas students may
experience are diverse and include, but are not
limited to, severe mental health crises, sexual
violence, domestic violence, severe economic
hardship, the death of a loved one, eating disorders, hate crimes and discrimination, natural
disasters, and substance abuse (Lynch, 2017; Silverman & Glick, 2010). Crisis management and
the support of students experiencing trauma are
hallmark duties of live-in residential life professionals, even codified as professional competencies by the Association of College and University
Housing Officers-International (Cawthon & Schreiber, 2012).
In their role, practitioners are often required
to complete some level of training related to
professional helping skills; yet, the increase
and complexity of student issues are outpacing
traditional skillsets of student affairs practitioners (Spano, 2011). Scholars have found that
frequent exposure to traumatized individuals
can have a variety of negative impacts on professional helpers including burnout (Cieslak, Shoji,
Douglas, Melville, Luszczynska, & Benight,
2014); compassion fatigue (Craig & Sprang,
2010); and secondary traumatic stress (Lynch
& Glass, 2018; Cieslak et al., 2014). Recognizing the potential deleterious effect of this work,
other helping professions have underscored the
ethical imperative of training professionals to
care for their personal wellness in order to be
fully present for the clients they serve (American Psychological Association, 2002; Norcross

44

& Barnett, 2008). Unfortunately, housing and
residential life programs may not recognize
and focus on this skillset as an area for intense
and continued training and development. This
oversight not only undermines the wellness of
residential life professionals but may also cost
departments and universities a great deal in
monetary and human resources in the form
of staff attrition and absenteeism. In 2015, The
American Psychological Association Center
for Organizational Excellence reported that
51% of employers view mental health as the
biggest threat to employee health (Scott, 2015).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also identified that work-related stress
is " . . . the leading workplace health problem
and a major occupational health risk, ranking
above physical inactivity and obesity. Productivity losses from missed work cost employers
$225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each
year" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016, p.1).
Although scholars and practitioners within
student affairs and residential life have called
attention to issues such as burnout (Rosser
& Javinar, 2003) and have proposed practices
and interventions to prevent potential negative outcomes related to the work of residential life practitioners (Rankin & Gulley, 2018),
looking to other helping professions can
provide a fresh perspective to build resiliency
in residence life practitioners. In this article,
the field of social work, another helping profession with responsibilities closely related to
many live-in residential job descriptions, is
explored in relation to how residential living
leadership may develop interventions to build
trauma resiliency in practitioners.

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Cover1
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