These are trying times for all of us, but some groups may be more significantly impacted by COVID-19 than others. College students are a prime example.
As colleges and universities have struggled with how to offer classes and health services this fall and look ahead to the spring semester, they’ve taken a variety of approaches including on-site, virtual, and hybrid. As restrictions related to the virus have ebbed and flowed, so have decisions about how to best provide mental health services to college students.
College students, already an at-risk population for mental health challenges, are especially at risk for anxiety and depression now as many have found their educational aspirations put on hold as they miss traditional opportunities for in-person gatherings ranging from sporting events to live graduation ceremonies.
As Inside Higher Ed points out: “A mountain of troubling data about rising mental health problems has health advocates and providers worried about the need for additional support for struggling students and the ability of colleges to provide it. They point to research from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating that 58% of students surveyed said they were “moderately,” “very” or “extremely” worried about their mental health.
What should colleges be doing to address anxiety and depression in college students, especially as many are away from campus?
Here are some best practice options for colleges and universities as they seek ways to help students protect and improve their mental health during the pandemic:
The serious impact of anxiety and depression for college students has long been known. During the pandemic, however, these impacts are being heightened—as they are for many others. Universities have an important role to play in offering solutions to help college students address anxiety and depression concerns both now and upon their return to campus.