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Though 56 percent of students say they are “very” or “somewhat” anxious about the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of them have not used mental health support services at their colleges, according to a new survey report released by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Course Hero, a course material sharing website; and College Pulse, a research company.
Colleges and universities have expanded their mental health services to include teletherapy and virtual support groups to accommodate students who are away from campus, but 77 percent of the 3,500 undergraduate students surveyed said they haven’t used the resources, the report said. About one-third of students surveyed responded that they were “not sure” about what resources for mental health and emotional well-being their college offers, the report said. Only about half of students said they believed their college “cared about them as a person.”
“While students are facing challenges in their mental health, they also report that they are overwhelmingly not using the resources available to them provided by their university,” the report said. “There is either a gap in what colleges have to offer, a gap in making such services known to students, or that students would not turn to their college for support when facing challenges related to stress surrounding COVID-19.”
Top student concerns during the pandemic included “staying engaged while learning online,” which was No. 1 for 72 percent of students. Sixty-three percent said they are concerned about maintaining their friendships, and 61 percent reported they are concerned about their mental health, according to the report.
The survey also gauged students’ reactions to their college’s decision to hold online or hybrid instruction during the fall semester. About 60 percent of all students agreed with the decision college administrators made about fall classes, regardless of whether they are learning online or partially in person, the report said.