It is wonderful to be here in the revitalized New Orleans for the APA meeting. Especially exciting has been the opportunity for those of us who have focused our career on college psychiatry to come together to share ideas and experiences. The APA meetings have presented this small but growing group with a rare chance to meet.
It is only right to first thank the recent and past APA leaders who have been instrumental in supporting this group. Michelle Riba (who established the task force on college mental health during her presidency), Paul Appelbaum, Steve Sharfstein (and earlier on Leah Dickstein) have been strong personal and intellectual supporters of this enterprise. The College mental health committees in their various forms have benefitted from the excellent leadership of Rachel Glick, David Fassler and more recently Jerry Kay as well. And Carol Bernstein has already shown great interest and support for our work-especially as related to the area of residency training in college mental health.
The college psychiatrists attending the meeting have shared a variety of programs including two symposia loosely based on the text that Jerry Kay and I recently released (Mental Health Care in the College Community/Wiley), a college mental health overview course presented by the psychiatrists based at the Duke University counseling service and an informal meeting of the college caucus this morning.
It is of particular benefit for the college psychiatry folks to have a chance to meet since many of us work as lone psychiatrists in our services and are often not well enough integrated into our university departments of psychiatry--even those of us who work at some very large universities. As was clear from all of the meetings, we deal with a unique population in a highly complex setting; often without the benefit of sufficient collegial support and consultation. Our conversations have focused on the challenges in providing care to ever growing numbers of students needing care and support and the challenges of working in systems (i.e., universities) that are not primarily focused on providing medical and mental health care. The meeting provided a chance for those of us with many years of experience to share ideas with our junior colleagues. It is really gratifying to see a young group of psychiatrists taking an active interest in this area.
The APA thus remains an important outlet and resource for our group as we continue toward establishing college psychiatry as an exciting training opportunity and a sub-specialty within psychiatry.
Thanks again to the APA and to our hosts in New Orleans.
Victor Schwartz, MD