A Case Study on Mental Health Gatekeeper Training for Academic Advisors

Lonnie Kussin, Fordham University


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to learn from eight counseling center directors and three academic advisors from Jesuit institutions how front-line administrators can assist counseling centers in improving help-seeking behaviors of students at their university. Through semi-structured interviews, the study sought to define ways how these staff members can help students with mental health challenges. Certain traits such as being good collaborators, empathetic, open and transparent are important for advisors to possess. Oftentimes, counseling centers and advisors rely on other areas at the University and newly created offices to assist students with mental health challenges, as well as placing counseling center staff members in other areas of the university where aide might be most needed. Furthermore, values such as cura personalis provides a foundation for more holistic support at Jesuit institutions. Training staff members is important, but its implementation must come from examples set by senior leadership. Implications for practice included encouraging university leadership to take an active role in promoting trainings on campus. Establishing connections with other offices and creating hybrid positions is another practice that has proven to be successful for counseling centers. Finally, incorporating the mission of most universities in the area of mental health and looking at the student holistically will be an added benefit.

Subject Area

Mental health|Educational administration|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Kussin, Lonnie, "A Case Study on Mental Health Gatekeeper Training for Academic Advisors" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29258658.