Reconsidering Reference for a Generation Without Boundaries
|O'Hara-Gonya, E. (2015). Reconsidering reference for a generation without boundaries. In L. G. Spencer, L. VandeCreek, & H. S. Wright (Eds.), The Psychology of Librarianship (347-366). Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.
|Much attention has been focused in the media recently upon the "dangers" that mentally ill college students pose to their communities. Indeed, there have been several well-publicized, albeit sensationalized, accounts of mentally ill college students lashing out violently against an individual or the wider community. Pundits have hotly debated the level of responsibility these students' respective campuses had in identifying these students, assessing them as "at risk" for violence, and remediating the risks posed by these students to society prior to their violent outbursts. These campuses contend that they addressed the students' behavior in a manner consistent with any higher educational institution's responsibility to act in loco parentis. The level of campuses' legal or ethical responsibility in these instances is beyond the scope of this chapter. What is important to note, however, is that it was individual faculty members who first reported their concerns about student behavior indicative of severe mental illness. One could rightfully dismiss these instances of extreme emotional disturbance as comparatively rare occurrences within the entire college student population. One cannot, however, dismiss the fact that students today are less prepared than previous generations to deal with the stressors of college life. They are seeking help in greater numbers to deal with those stressors, and they are more comfortable disclosing their problems in non-clinical, public settings. This situation presents several significant challenges for librarians and other academic faculty. These challenges include not only recognizing students experiencing emotional disturbances, but also responding sensitively to those students at that moment and identifying the appropriate campus or community resources to which one should refer them.
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