National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



Chapter 10, pages 173-203

In: Advising for Today's Honors Students, Erin E. Edgington, editor

National Collegiate Honors Council, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, 2023


Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


In recent years students’ mental health has been one of the most discussed topics at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Brad Wolverton (2019) notes in The New York Times that students are facing anxiety and depression at alarming rates. More than 60% are suffering from “overwhelming anxiety” and over 40% feel “so depressed they [have] difficulty functioning” (Wolverton, 2019). In this chapter, we explore how mental health impacts one’s academic performance and mindset, and vice versa. It is important to acknowledge that the first drafts of this chapter were written prior to 2020, and therefore it does not address, nor focus on, the extensive mental health implications of COVID-19 and the contemporary discourse surrounding systemic racism. Alyssa M. Lederer et al. (2021) address these particular issues and how they have led to an increase in student’s experiencing and reporting mental health problems, which disproportionately impact communities of color. Philip L. Frana (2023) also points out that the Black Lives Matter movement revealed how “honors shares the sins of American society, with its systematic racial inequalities,” and continues to privilege “the upper classes, cosmopolitan backgrounds, and socially connected families” (p. 19). As such, it is imperative that honors programs and colleges consider these issues and injustices when evaluating and developing their organizational policies and practices.

In this chapter, we explore the relationship between students’ mental health, their mindset, resilience, and academic performance while participating as members of the Baruch Honors Program and Macaulay Honors College. Based on our experiences, which include three case studies presented below, we recommend that faculty and staff utilize a collaborative, holistic, and inquiry-based approach when working with students who are struggling. We suggest that effective advisement interventions should include a relational and intrusive/inquiry-based approach to support students as they develop coping strategies as well as broader, institutional programming to support their developmental and mental health needs. At the forefront of our discussion are students who are at-risk and on academic probation. We place collaboration among staff, faculty and students as well as student social connectedness to their peers and advisors at the center of these interventions to help them succeed in every facet of their college-going experience: emotional, personal, social, academic/intellectual, and professional.