A recent study in September 2020 found that almost 75% of all student respondents reported their mental health has worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student Mental Health
The top behavioral health responses given by students include stress or anxiety, disappointment or sadness, and feeling lonely or isolation during the pandemic. However, there are signs of encouragement from the behavioral health research that college students may be coping more effectively.
“It appears college students are very accommodating in supporting each other with their mental health” said James Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Opus Behavioral. “Higher education is communicating more efficiently about anxiety by sharing strategies to help student wellness, including new changes in academic programs to sustain the campus virtually.”
College students responded they have received various types of behavioral health guidance from their institution, including where to obtain professional mental health services.
“These are great inferences when you consider the mental health challenges students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic” continued Schmidt. “Being taught virtually is especially different than in-person and can trigger unwelcome anxiety and stress. The research indicates college students are pulling together and realize where to tell a friend to go if they want therapy or assistance.”
Depression and Anxiety
Coping strategies for depression and anxiety included virtual interaction with friends and being around pets. Many college students also indicated they went home from their campus, which provided support for depression from their loved ones.
“The challenge of virtual contact is it can often lead to reduced physical wellbeing,” Schmidt summarized. “Our mental health community can continue to encourage students to stay as active as possible and incorporate a calendar or routine to increase emotions of normalcy.”