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To improve student health and well-being focus on mental health
College is often a time for more opportunities, more independence, and more freedom. However, it also comes along with more responsibilities and new challenges. Many college students experience major disruptions in their social support network which makes it harder to cope with the stresses that college may bring.
Mental breakdowns, all-nighters, stress, financial instability, and poor diets are hardly out of the norm for many college students. Those things, along with partying and growing debt are normalised as part of the college experience. Going to school is an opportunity for students to expand their social networks, learn essential skills, and gain the tools to fulfill their educational aspirations; mental health should not stand in their way. Mental health issues are are often invisible, but have real impacts; they can lead to or exacerbate anxiety, substance misuse, suicide ideation, depression, and college dropout.
Instead of compounding issues, institutions can foster a supportive environment that allows all students to thrive. In this collection, we focus on: lifting up student voices, reframing the issue of mental health among students, looking at basic needs, identifying students with disproportionate burden, and offering pathways to improve student well-being.
Student perspectives on stress and mental health
These blog features are written by us--Jessica and Keely--your friendly Community Commons interns (that's us in the banner photo!). As GenZs, we’ve read a lot of things written about us and know what others think that our generation is like.
However, we are slowly learning to speak up for and represent ourselves. In the following pieces, we present our perspective on the college experience and the issues and opportunities surrounding it.
Framing the issue of health and well-being among students
The following provides an overview of physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being among college students in the United States.
Basic needs security for students
Although the college-age population has relatively low rates of morbidity and mortality, students face many barriers to flourishing, particularly basic needs insecuerity. When college students experience insecurity in housing, food, and finances, it can hinder their potential for success.
Students in need of support
Students today experience growing levels of pressure and stress. We’ve seen a boom in opioid and substance misuse, depression, as well as other emerging problems like school safety. The below brings attention to students who may experience elevated risk.
Addressing and investing in mental health
Improving mental well-being is a complex and long term goal, but there are many ways to create positive changes that support mental health for college students. The following present opportunities for improvement.