A recent Chegg Survey reveals that the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university students is particularly considerable.
Most notably, 56% of 17,000 students across 21 countries said that the pandemic has increased their feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety. A vast majority have communicated that they struggle with excessive stress and depression. Additionally, many said they experience numerous mental health challenges serious enough to affect their academic performance, engagement, and social life.
There is no doubt that the escalating mental health crisis has changed the way students assess and evaluate universities. Today, young people making the transition to higher education are paying more and more attention to the student support services and mental health resources offered when selecting which university they will attend. Prospective university students have definitely changed their views on the importance of mental health support.
This has become an essential factor considering how the pandemic has put a great emphasis on mental health awareness, especially when it comes to enrollment.
Why Higher Education Must Invest in Student Support Services
Because mental health problems are on the rise, we know these issues rarely subside if left untreated. Therefore it will continue to cause students distress throughout their lives. This is why universities need to prioritize early intervention through a holistic approach that targets the prevention and improvement of poor mental health for this age group.
Universities also report a significant increase in student demand for campus-based mental health and support services that expands far beyond the current capacity of these services. That being said, this demand is not mirrored by internal students as a QS global international student survey says
“more than a quarter of surveyed respondents would feel uncomfortable or very uncomfortable seeking mental health assistance from their university”. They would, however, appreciate support regarding more practical issues like finances, accommodation, medical care, etc.
Student Support Services Can Improve Retention, Engagement, and Academic Performance
The challenge is clear, universities must implement a comprehensive approach wherein all the different aspects of university life, including culture, curriculum, evaluations, and formal services should contribute to the promotion of good mental health.
This is a great opportunity for universities to invest in strategies to make their spaces more supportive and inclusive. To alleviate these practical concerns, for instance, the same global survey encourages higher education institutions to provide services like career centers, academic counselors, health clinics, career guidance as an indirect way to foster higher morale and reduce the current strain on students.
While the mental health struggles students face can feel daunting at times, there are so many opportunities for universities to take initiative and offer their support. These establishments can play a key role as mental health advocates by both promoting available resources and sharing modeling practices that enhance well-being. Universities with programs that encourage students in distress to seek support not only have a greater retention rate, but their students also benefit from increased academic performance and are more likely to reach their career goals in the long run.
So, whether you’re an international or domestic student, you can greatly benefit from university support resources as you navigate these important transitions in life. Acquiring the skills, tools, and insights that will help you maintain your mental health and well-being is vital.
You deserve the support, guidance, connection, and feedback necessary to elevate all aspects of your student life, and I, Amanda Da Silva, from DS Education Group would love to help you!
You need a confidant you can trust and an expert to give you relevant advice on how you can accomplish the goals and aspirations you’ve set out to achieve, now more than ever.