Laurise Johnson


Presentation: 4:30-6:30 p.m., LTC Forum



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The occurrence of young adults between the age of 18-25 experiencing life events that impede on their ability to complete daily functions has skyrocketed. Student affairs professionals need competency in crisis management as they are often seen as “first responders” in their role while serving as advisers, supporters, and helpers to students facing a challenge, barrier, life stressor, or crisis. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the readiness of Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) professionals in responding to the varying levels of challenge, life stressors, and barriers faced by college students. The results throughout this study uncovered a number of gaps that impact HESA professionals’ ability to feel confident and equipped with the tools needed to support students in need: 1) newer professionals do not feel equipped to support students across various levels of challenge and reported lower levels of crisis management competence and intervention confidence; 2) the ability to provide support to students in crisis is heavily dependent upon a professional’s functional area; 3) the lack of mental health training overrides HESA professionals’ confidence and competence; and 4) specialized training sessions and professional development opportunities around mental health and helping strategies are not being provided. The findings from this study provide specific implications for future practices and research on the readiness of HESA professionals in supporting students facing challenges.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Graham Hunter

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium, School of Education and Health Sciences

Ready to Help: Exploring Student Affairs Practitioners’ Readiness to Support Students Amid Increasing Mental Health Challenges