Most students have a ready answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For college students, those answers are generally expected to have some basis in reality. Many students believe that a session with a career counselor will not only clarify their career path but also guarantee them a job or at least a crucial company contact. However, there are people who think the role of the college career center should change. Andy Chan, Vice President for Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University, posits that typical college career centers must shift their focus. Instead of providing job listings and assuming students will “figure it out,” career counselors should first focus on the student’s personal development, then work with the student to discover how those personal characteristics will relate to the student’s career interests. Providing students with the abilities and skills necessary to network effectively is also crucial. Chan also argues against the common misconception that a liberal arts degree will lead nowhere. In fact, a recent survey indicates that employers want their workers to be innovative, critical thinkers with a wide-ranging base of education. A student’s choice of major may be less important than his being able to demonstrate that he has these types of broad skills, such as leadership, communications, and problem solving. College career centers should attempt to hone these skills in students, along with providing standard services like aptitude testing, practice interviews, and access to alumni networking events and career fairs. How should college career centers and career counselors adapt to best serve their clients? Have you benefited from career counseling?
According to a new survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), suicide is one of the most important issues facing this generation of veterans, with 37 percent of respondents saying they know a veteran who has committed suicide and 45 percent know of an Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran who has attempted suicide. Furthermore, nearly one in three veterans have considered taking their own life and 63 percent of vets say they have a friend who they feel needs mental health care. Half of respondents have had people close to them suggest they seek mental health care (19 percent of those individuals did not seek care, with most of those people stating that they were concerned it would affect their career or would make their peers perceive them in a different light). On a positive note, 93 percent of individuals know that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs offers a suicide helpline, and 91 percent of vets say they have recommended that their friends seek out mental health treatment. In an unrelated study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from the Naval Health Research Center found that the rising number of suicides in the military may not be caused by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, they believe that untreated depression, manic-depressive disorder, and alcohol abuse are much stronger indicators that an enlisted individual will commit suicide. For more information about the study, visit JAMA.
As the new school year approaches, children and teenagers can experience a range of emotions, from the normal excitement associated with new teachers and activities to more serious or long-term anxiety about school.  Mental Health America, a national advocacy organization that addresses mental health and substance abuse conditions, offers tips to help children and teens adjust as they return to school.  Their suggestions include the following.
  • Know that your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.
  • Start the conversation! Talk to your child about your expectations as well as his/her expectations for the upcoming school year. Take time to listen to your child and discuss aspects of the new school year that he or she is worried about.
  • Remember to let your child know that it’s normal to feel nervous about the start of school.
  • Spend time each day talking to your child about what happened in school. Be open to hearing the good and the not so good. Give your child positive feedback about his or her new experiences.
  • Praise and encourage your child to become involved with school activities and to try new things.
  • Attend school functions and stay involved in your child’s education and engaged with school staff.
  • Be proactive in learning about how your child is developing not just physically, but socially and emotionally, as well. If you are aware of what’s typical for your child's stage of life, you will be able to tell more readily when things may not be right.
  • Know the signs of bullying.
For the full story or to locate additional resources for a healthy back-to-school season, visit the Mental Health America Web site.
Image Have you downloaded our Concussion Recognition & Response™ (CRR) app yet? The app is now available free of charge for download through the Apple® App StoreSM and Google Play for use on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® Touch, Android™ device, or tablet! The CRR app helps coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting and/or reporting the signs of a concussion. In fewer than 5 minutes, a parent or coach can complete a checklist of signs and symptoms to help determine whether to seek medical attention. The app allows users to record pertinent information regarding the child with a suspected concussion, allowing them to easily share that information with health-care providers. Post-injury, it guides parents through follow-up treatment. Click here to view the PARtners and Supporters of the CRR, including Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback Steve Young!