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.

Photo of a poster that reads
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Advances Success for First Generation College Students
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 01/22/2019
Students standing around therapy dog
The Student Stress Crisis: What is Portland State Doing to Make a Difference?
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Infographic describing common causes of stress among college students
Student Stress and Mental Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 11/19/2019

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.

Staff Pick!
Cover page for the ACHA NCHA Reference Group Executive Summary
Home page for Healthy Minds Network Data portal
Healthy Minds Network Data
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Brought to you by Healthy Minds Network

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.

Landing page for How Financial Aid Betrays the Modern Family
How Financial Aid Betrays the Modern Family
Story - Written
Brought to you by The Atlantic
Landing page for Hunger and Homelessness in College
Hunger and Homelessness in College
Story - Audio
Brought to you by WPR
Landing page for College Access and Affordability
College Access and Affordability
Story - Audio
Brought to you by CEM

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.

Staff Pick!
Cover of Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide an the Millennial Generation - a Devastating Impact
Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide an the Millennial Generation - a Devastating Impact
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by Well Being Trust
Landing page for MindWise Innovations Mental Health Screening
MindWise Innovations Mental Health Screening
Brought to you by MindWise

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.

  • Oregon Allowing Students to Take "Mental Health Days" Could Benefit Them in College, Experts Say
  • Investing in Student Mental Health: Opportunities & Benefits for College Leadership
  • ULifeline Self Evaluator 

 Related Topics

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College Students

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Mental and Behavioral Health

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College Campuses