College Student Mental Health and Well-Being



According to the latest research on college students and mental health, three out of 10 students have struggled with depression in the last two weeks, and over one in four have expressed issues with anxiety. Even more distressing is the one in 20 college students who had created a suicide plan in the past year.

College student mental health and well-being is a major source of concern for higher education administrators, faculty, and staff. College counseling centers report being overwhelmed with requests for services. Other faculty and staff report working with campus and local resources to assist students with their mental health concerns.

This blog series aims to explore the various dimensions associated with college student mental health and well-being. Scholars, administrators, analysts, and practitioners will address the challenges faced by different populations of students and offer resources and ideas for support. The series, which will be updated throughout 2019, will serve as a resource for those interested in learning more about the issues surrounding college students and their mental health and the quest for well-being.

Centering Equity in Student Mental Health Task Forces: Lessons Learned From the University of Michigan by Sara R. Abelson, Janelle R. Goodwill, and Meghan A. Duffy
Sept. 21, 2020
Based on their work with the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School Task Force on Graduate Student Mental Health, Sara Abelson, Meghan Duffy, and Janelle Goodwill identify eight ways that university mental health task forces can center equity in their work.

Supporting College Students Through a Public Health Crisis: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Harvey by Ruth M. López and Vincent D. Carales
April 20, 2020
In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast, significantly affecting 13 million people in states throughout the region. Ruth M. López and Vincent D. Carales of the University of Houston look at what colleges can learn from Hurricane Harvey to address student mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Involuntary Withdrawal Policies: No Room for Mental Health Stereotypes in a Fair Process by Amy C. Foerster
Nov. 4, 2019
Recent developments have highlighted the importance of comprehensive, transparent involuntary withdrawal policies for students who pose a risk of self-harm. Attorney Amy C. Foerster discusses what higher education institutions should consider and how to incorporate principles established by the  Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

Helping Students at Risk of Self-Harm: Considerations for the New Academic Year by Peter McDonough
Sept. 4, 2019
ACE General Counsel Peter McDonough outlines a series of principles gleaned from past Department of Education documents that campuses can use as they design policies and practices to help at-risk students.

College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A Survey of College Presidents by Hollie M. Chessman and Morgan Taylor
August 12, 2019
To better understand how campuses are navigating the challenge of student mental health and well-being, ACE conducted a survey of 400 college and university presidents at the end of April. Read what they had to say.

Mental Health and Post-traditional Learners by Gail Bruce-Sanford and Louis Soares
April 22, 2019
Post-traditional learners are often expected to adjust their own lives and schedules to campus life and services, including in the area of mental health. But it is equally important that campus services and culture are adjusted to better serve this growing group of students and their unique needs.

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury on College Campuses by Janis Whitlock, Stephen P. Lewis, Imke Baetens, and Penelope Hasking
Feb. 6, 2019
Conversations about the mental health and well-being of college students often underestimate the prevalence and impact of non-suicidal self-injury in college settings. Four scholars from institutions in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and Australia look at the problem—and how institutions can respond.

The Rise of Mental Health on College Campuses: Protecting the Emotional Health of Our Nation’s College Students by Nance Roy
Dec. 17, 2018
Nance Roy, chief clinical officer of the Jed Foundation, provides action steps to support emotional well-being and reduce suicide and substance abuse among college students.

Cannabis and the College Campus: Considering the Impact on Students in a Changing Legal Climate by Jason Kilmer
Nov. 13, 2018
On Nov. 6, 2012, voters in Washington State joined voters in Colorado in passing legislation that legalized marijuana. Since then, eight other states and Washington, DC have passed similar bills. Jason R. Kilmer of the University of Washington looks at what legalization means for college campuses.

When College Feels Like the End Rather Than the Beginning by Kelly Davis
Oct. 24, 2018
Students are leading the way to change campus mental health, says Kelly Davis, director of peer advocacy at Mental Health America.

The Mental and Physical Well-Being of Incoming Freshmen: Three Decades of Research by Ellen Bara Stolzenberg
Sept. 6, 2018
How have the health concerns of freshman college students have changed in recent decades?

Why We Should Partner with Students to Address Campus Mental Health by Laura Horne
July 16, 2018
Students know students, says Laura Horne of Active Minds. Engaging them as equal partners in improving mental health on campus can make all the difference.

It Doesn’t Always Get Better for Queer-Spectrum and Trans-Spectrum College Students by Maren Greathouse
June 6, 2018
Many queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students continue to navigate stigma, peer aggression, and exclusion well into their college years. Researchers are beginning to capture their experiences, which could help lead the way to change.

College on the Autism Spectrum by Connie Anderson
May 9, 2018
Most first-time college students face challenges adjusting to new academic demands and campus life. For students on the autism spectrum, these challenges can be overwhelming—but with the proper support, they don’t have to be.

College Students of Color: Confronting the Complexities of Diversity, Culture, and Mental Health by Annelle B. Primm
April 2, 2018
Annelle Primm of The Steve Fund discusses the need for the higher education community to institute policies and procedures to support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. This post is the first in a series on college student mental health and well-being.