RRL Mental Health Transcendental Phenomenology.pdf - In...

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DIn Their Own Words: A PhenomenologicalExploration of Student Mental Health andSuccess in CollegeMegan Callahan ShermanNational statistics suggest that an increasing number of students are exhibiting mental healthsymptoms while in college. Despite this alarming trend, limited research has been conductedfor the purpose of better understanding the complex dynamics at play for individuals navi-gating these challenges. This phenomenological research study provides a descriptive analysisof the lived experience shared by successful college students dealing with a mental healthcondition. In adopting a strengths perspective that acknowledges achievement, this explor-atory research serves as a platform for future studies and introduces several common elementsof the phenomena. Five emerging essential themes are defined and discussed: meaning mak-ing, goal setting and purpose, spirituality, reciprocal relationships, and altruism. This investi-gation provides insight into the common factors that promote success for college studentsliving with mental health issues. Studyfindings should be considered when developing inter-vention initiatives on college campuses for these historically marginalized students.KEY WORDS:college success; mental health; phenomenologyating back to Addams and Richmond,social workers have advocated the impor-tance of access to quality education. Edu-cation is transformational. Knowledge is powerand a college education offers an expanse of learn-ing experiences. Successful completion of colle-giate studies is critical to ensuring long-termfinancial, professional, and social well-being. Ac-cording to the U.S. Department of Education,National Center for Education Statistics (ED,NCES, 2015),72 percent of young adults with abachelors degree worked full time, year round in2013, compared with 62 percent of young adulthigh school completers(para. 2). In addition tobeing less likely to encounter unemployment, in-dividuals with a college degree have substantiallyhigher incomes than those who have only earned ahigh school diploma or GED (ED, NCES, 2015).Given the significant variations in outcomes forcollege-degree earners versus the individuals with-out a college degree, it is startling to review thecollege dropout rate in the United States. On aver-age, only 59% of college students complete theirfour-year program within six years (ED, NCES,2015). Yet, what is even more concerning is thefrequency with which mental health plays a role incollege-leaving behavior.According to the National Alliance on MentalIllness (NAMI, 2012), 64% of young adults whoare no longer in college are not attending becauseof a mental healthrelated reason. In addition,when mental health does not cause college drop-out, it plays a critical role in the academic achieve-ment for a significant number of students. Nationalresearch reveals that when asked to reect on theprior academic year, more than 80% of college stu-dents reported feeling overwhelmed by study de-mands, and slightly fewer than 50% of studentsidentified feelings of hopelessness (NAMI, 2012).

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Term
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Meaning of life, Being and Time, Student Mental Health, Mike identi ed

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