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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2012 Jul-Aug;20(4):174-88. doi: 10.3109/10673229.2012.712842.

A bioecological systems approach for navigating the college mental health crisis.

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Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


McLean Hospital's College Mental Health Program was established four years ago as an institutional response to escalating, national college mental health concerns. The critical factors underlying the college mental health crisis in this country have been debated, examined, and addressed almost exclusively within college and university settings. McLean Hospital is the first psychiatric hospital to develop a comprehensive college student program that bridges the gap between a psychiatric hospital and multiple campus settings as an attempt to address the specific needs of college student-patients across levels of psychiatric care and diagnostic areas/programs. Using a bioecological systems framework, this review examines (1) the strategic clinical, education/outreach, and research efforts that collectively represent a paradigm shift to extend responsibility for addressing serious college mental health challenges beyond college and university campuses, (2) the challenges and benefits of creating stronger multi-campus/hospital collaborations in order to improve our understanding of college students with serious mental illness, and (3) the progress in addressing these needs more effectively and in establishing documented best practices and policies through effective and innovative partnerships.

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