While some may consider college a refuge from the rest of the world, it is also a place where students struggle with finances, loss, career choices, unhealthy relationships, and a myriad of other concerns. Still others...cope with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mood disorder including depression, bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, dysthymia, or cyclothymia. The student with a mood disorder might visit an advisor for excessive absences, tardiness, repeatedly dropping courses, or poor academic standing. These students may believe they are failures, appear overly sensitive, pessimistic, dependent, irritable, or even hostile. Some have problems with concentration, motivation, indecisiveness, or being overly ambitious despite a lack of accomplishments. While none of these behaviors is proof of a mood disorder, it provides academic advisors with an opportunity to speak with students about support services available on their campus. In addition to giving guidance about a study skills class, time management workshops, or tutoring, advisors could inform students about college counseling services to increase their awareness. Sharkin, Plageman, & Coulter (2005) cited the importance of informing students about the benefits of counseling as a preventive measure before a crisis develops....Whether a student discloses a mood disorder or you suspect as much, advisors should know that relationships make a difference in the lives of students. As an advisor you are often the first contact for a student. The development of an encouraging relationship provides us with the opportunity to guide students to the most appropriate services, give support, and leave the door open to their future success.
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