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A new bridge between research and practice in college counseling and mental health.

This landmark special issue of the Journal of College Counseling (JCC) signals a significant advance in the college counseling field's ability to examine and report on important research topics pertaining to the mental health needs of college students and the psychological services they are offered. This issue is the product of a new partnership between JCC and the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH). The CCMH is a collaborative research network comprising approximately 150 college and university counseling centers across the United States, all of which contribute to a single, central data management system. Using the system, the CCMH, which is housed at Pennsylvania State University, can obtain client data and other information from literally tens of thousands of students in order to test clinical hypotheses and answer research questions. The findings from this massive network will make substantial contributions to the college counseling knowledge base and will have an important impact on the day-to-day practices of today's college counseling professionals--including professional counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others working in counseling centers, mental health centers, and health centers on 2- and 4-year college and university campuses.

JCC is in its 2nd decade of publication. The journal, the mission of which is to advance the college counseling knowledge base and inform practice on college and university campuses, appears in about a dozen important indexes. Its regular issues, published annually in the fall and spring, include articles in three sections: Research, Professional Issues and Innovative Practice, and Invited College Counseling Case Studies. Now, with this inaugural issue, JCC begins its partnership with the CCMH and will publish a third annual summer issue specifically dedicated to the Center's research studies. This new third annual issue will be an additional benefit for members of the American College Counseling Association and a valuable resource for all of the journal's readers. For its part, the CCMH began in 2004; is fully operational; and, in this issue, successfully presents its first series of findings.

This inaugural issue is organized as follows: First, Jeffrey Hayes, Benjamin Locke, and Louis Castonguay of the CCMH provide a comprehensive description of the CCMH and the rationale for the selection of initial research topics. They provide details explaining the nuts and bolts of making the CCMH run and how the research occurs. Next, five articles are presented that report on the first findings to come out of the network. Each article provides clear implications for college counseling practice and outlines for readers important limitations of the study and remaining questions. All of the articles were submitted by CCMH authors and subjected to full JCC editorial review and selection. Finally, Gordon Nagayama Hall concludes with a commentary that brings together the issue's important themes, implications, and indications for future research.

The college and university counseling and mental health field has experienced various periods of growth and development. The current period, dating from the early 1980s, has been characterized by increasingly complex, demanding, and serious student needs (Archer & Cooper, 1998). In fact (as we have pointed out previously in JCC), on the basis of his comparison of recent experiences of college counseling professionals and counseling trends among adolescents and young adults in off-campus settings, Rudd (2004) concluded that university and college counseling centers essentially were becoming community clinics in a special institutional context. In order to "[help] students work through psychological and emotional issues that may affect their academic success and personal development" (Dungy, 2003, p. 345) in this institutional context, today's collegiate mental health professionals require a thriving knowledge base to inform their practice. We expect the JCC/CCMH summer issue to make a vital contribution in that regard.

References

Archer, J., Jr., & Cooper, S. (1998). Counseling and mental health services on campus: A handbook of contemporary practices and challenges. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dungy, G. J. (2003). Organization and functions of student affairs. In S. R. Komives, D. B. Woodard Jr., & Associates (Eds.), Student services: A handbook for the profession (4th ed., pp. 339-357). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kudd, M. D. (2004). University counseling centers: Looking more and more like community clinics. Professional Psychology. Research and Practice, 35, 316-317.

Joshua C. Watson, Editor and Alan M. Schwitzer, Guest Editor
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Author:Watson, Joshua C.; Schwitzer, Alan M.
Publication:Journal of College Counseling
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 22, 2011
Words:696
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