Just 1 in 3 college students say their school has robust mental health resources

Although young adults list mental health as a top concern, many do not know how to access the resources available to them, according to a new study from Born This Way Foundation.

Benenson Strategy Group administered the online survey from June 27th through July 10th and drew responses from 3,015 people between the ages of 15 and 24 as well as 1,004 parents. Participants were asked a series of questions about their own mental health, their tactics for tackling mental health issues, the role peers and parents play in their mental health efforts, and finally, how colleges can create a healthier atmosphere.

More than half of students view mental health as a top priority,  but many are unaware or do not believe they have access to resources that can support them, reports Pat Donachie for Educative Dive.  

Although 68% of college students consider themselves stressed, up to 47% "rarely or never" discuss their mental health, reports the survey. "Largely ignored but hugely important" mental health issues can stem from problems at home and in the community, says Marc Zimmerman, professor in Health Behavior at University of Michigan.

Demand for mental health services is higher than ever

However, students did signal in interest in building a stronger community support network. The study found that 74% of participants are interested in enrolling in a training program to learn how to help a friend face a mental health crisis.

Students did report "blossoming" in "kind" colleges, writes Donachie. Colleges received a "kind" designation if they offer free mental health/counseling resources, hold activities to reduce stress, like meditation, and have an established space for student affinity groups, like a LGBTQUIA Center.

However, only 34% of surveyed students reported attending a college with these resources, while an even lower 15% believe their college doesn't offer any support, reports Donachie. Surprisingly, the study also found that parents tend to overestimate the mental health resources available on campus, with up to 71% of parents believing their child attends a "kind" college (Born This Way Foundation report accessed 7/28; Donachie, Education Dive, 7/28)

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