Nearly 60% of college students relied on mental health care in their youth, according to a new survey from TimelyCare, a virtual health and well-being provider for college students. The findings point to “the mental health crisis in this demographic that has been brewing for some time,” according to a news release. Students cite the following contributing factors impacting their mental health:
- Academic pressures
- Basic needs
- Societal issues (e.g., mass shootings and economic uncertainty)
Since the pandemic, mental health for pre-college adolescents has reached unprecedented levels. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 3 high school girls in the U.S. have seriously considered suicide. These numbers also speak to the overwhelming need to provide data-driven, equitable resources on college campuses.
In addition, more than three-fourths (77%) of current college students know someone experiencing mental health challenges.
The survey also comes at a time when the CDC and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy have highlighted this growing issue over the past year to raise awareness and action around what’s been labeled a mental health crisis.
“While the numbers are overwhelming, it is critical to applaud America’s youth—and their trusted support systems—for taking the important first step of recognizing their need for professional therapeutic support and acting on it,” said Chief Care Officer for TimelyCare Bob Booth in a news release. “As students continue to seek mental health care and gain awareness of mental health issues earlier and earlier, we can expect a tidal wave of students entering college with unprecedented needs for support.”
TimelyCare also provides recommendations for colleges and universities on addressing student mental health. Here are 10 steps to improve student mental health as a higher education leader:
- Normalize and destigmatize mental health support
- Factor in all students’ backgrounds and identities
- Understand that mental health is an essential need
- Address areas where there are shortages in health providers
- Tackle it as an entire system
- Advocate for your school counselors staff
- Be intentional in reaching “silent sufferers”
- Encourage students to take the lead
- Champion student-athlete mental health
- Respond with a culture of caring