Student Mental Health: Finding Help

Student mental health has, thankfully, become a hot topic on college campuses. Administrations have grown to realize that young adults can benefit greatly from emotional educations as well as career training and book-smarts. How to manage and work through stresses and anxieties creates better students, and better people. New spring 2020 programs and campaigns and clinics were launched. Talking started. And then COVID-19 hit and the students were all sent home.

And then what happened? For some students, the emptiness of quarantine and the stress of upheaval melted into anxiety, fear, stress, and loneliness.

Lots of deserved attention has been paid to seniors, both high school and college, finishing out a huge chapter of their lives in quarantine. But the non-graduating students are also figuring out how to manage too. And many of them might be falling through the cracks. Are you or your student in need of support?

Active Minds

Active Minds surveyed 2,086 college students regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health in April 2020. From that survey:

  • 80% said the pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health
  • 91% reported being more stressed or anxious
  • 76% said they had trouble sticking to a routine
  • 63% felt a loss of connection with others
  • Importantly, more than half – 55% – wouldn’t know where to get mental health help if they needed it

The Summer of Nothing

As we head into the “summer of nothing,” as it’s been dubbed, and states and localities are easing restrictions, the need for mental health checks have not gone away. Small freedoms are indeed novel, but they can also exacerbate the gnawing of “what was supposed to happen.”

RELATED: Senior Year Cancellations: Supporting Your Grieving Student

All students, high school and college, have lost out on time with friends, and space in their own schools, or apartments or dorms. There’s been a loss of routine and privacy. Many jobs, internships, and travel experiences, that were all being worked for, have disappeared. Filling their spaces is the addition of more unknowns. Will schools open this fall? What will that time look like? And will they be able to safely manage being “outside” again? For some, leaving “the nest” again might cause even more stress.

This grief is very real, and very intense. And social distancing can make these feelings of isolation and loneliness worse. Young people are just now learning the art of resiliency. It is a skill to know how to bounce back.

There are places to turn. No matter what, you’re not alone.

Where to Turn Because Talking Never Makes It Worse

If you or your student is in need of help, it is available.

The Crisis Text Line:
The national hotline provides access to free, 24/7 support for anyone experiencing mental health issues
by texting HOME to 741741
or calling 800-273-TALK.

College students, search for your campus mental health counseling center’s website. There are sure to be links available, as well as phone numbers, chat rooms, and text numbers. This service is available to you even if you’ve graduated or recently enrolled! Transition is a huge part of what college counseling centers handle.

High school students, contact your guidance counselor or department, school nurse, or a trusted teacher.

Your family doctor or primary care physician can help you locate resources and put you in touch with counselors, as well as answer questions.

Telemedicine provides easy access to counselors, along with privacy.

ULifeline is an online resource for college mental health. It is a project of The Jed Foundation, which works to protect the emotional health of college students.

Active Minds has lots of resources and programs to check out.

Additionally, parents and guardians can absolutely help guide you as well. While learning to navigate your own feelings is a life-skill, having their hand to steady you isn’t weakness. We think you’ll find they might be feeling a lot of the same stresses as well!

Finally, the important fact is that if you feel you need help, please reach out. These are all unprecedented times, and support is a good thing.

Some other articles that might be helpful:

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