Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Melissa Wood is the Director of Title IX, Access, and Inclusion at Hampden-Sydney College. Her research interests include Title IX, mental health, education disparities, and holistic approaches to student success. She previously served in the VCCS and was awarded the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowship in 2016, Faculty Peer Fellow Award in 2012, and Educational Excellence Awards in 2012, 2015, and 2016. Melissa is the Founder of The Hope Alliance (www.hopeallianceusa.org), a training and consulting firm that helps organizations address the mental health of their employees, students, or other stakeholders in order to reduce the risk of crisis. In addition to the USA, Melissa has presented to audiences in Canada and the United Kingdom.


In the past several decades, the number of college students who experience mental health concerns has increased astronomically. During that time, acts of campus violence have increased as well. Unfortunately, many colleges have been unable to effectively meet the needs of students with mental disorders. This article explores the challenges surrounding the mental health and wellness of college students. It also analyzes the impact of such challenges on students and the institution. Additionally, this paper examines best practices that colleges may implement to assist students in distress and discusses implications for higher education leaders.



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