In recent years, terms such as epidemic and crisis have been used to describe the growing number of people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. The numbers and statistics are especially concerning among college-age students.
In 2020, 90% of directors of college counseling centers reported an increase in demand for their services. In the same year, 73% of college and university presidents identified mental health as a pressing issue on their campus. And in a national survey of college students, nearly 40% said they experienced depression.
There are endless theories as to why these numbers are spiking – the pressures of social media, overprotective parents, some believe that we have created a culture where young people believe they need a therapist to be able to navigate all of life’s challenges. Most experts agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded mental health challenges and will continue to have lingering effects on adults, and especially young adults, for years to come.
In recent years, college students and advocacy groups have been pressing colleges and universities to re-evaluate their mental health policies and procedures and their resources and programs for students. For example, some university policies force students in mental health crisis to take a leave of absence, which often discourages students from reporting their needs. Disability Rights Advocates have been working to change these policies and to provide students with on- and off-campus support during and following a mental health crisis.
In November 2021, the Harvard Graduate School of Education hosted an expert discussion on what mental health and wellness should look like on today’s college campus and how universities can enhance their support for students. Some of the key points of the conversation include:
You can view the full conversation and list of resources here.
This is a topic that we, at Transact, care deeply about. We are committed to continuing this important conversation and supporting solutions that benefit today’s college students and their needs. At the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, Transact announced the launch of a new mobile campus ID feature that gives students access to emergency hotline and suicide prevention information from their devices. Learn more about this resource and how it can be implemented on your campus here.
In the fall of 2021, Mechelle King was named Transact’s first vice president for diversity equity and inclusion. She has more than 30 years of human resources expertise primarily in technology, financial services, and healthcare industries.