Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela L. Eddy

Committee Member

Kristin Wilson

Committee Member

Tracey L Cross


Students who experience a mental health crisis while enrolled in College experience an interruption to their college journey. This single site case study examined the mental health leave and reenrollment process and its impact on college student development using the lens of Nancy Schlossberg’s (2011) model of transition. This study also examined the perceptions and values of college staff as they worked to advocate for and support students who engaged in the process. Using my conceptual model of the mental health leave and reenrollment process for guidance, college personnel can use the four main transitions that occur during this process-crisis, time away, re-entry, and return to the college, to develop processes that focus on the supports students need to transition through each stage of the process. Intentional collaborative units of support between on- and off- campus supports are essential to this process. Finally, staff participant interviews provided additional insight into the values of college personnel as they guide students through the mental health leave and reenrollment process. This study found that while students focused on their individual journey and moved through the process one step at a time, staff worked to provide good company to students, not just as good listeners, but as active team members in the student journey. By accessing comprehensive supports that position students to develop coping strategies they can move out of the process and onto a place where they can flourish.




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