Nearly 40 percent of recent graduates believe their college or university did an inadequate job of preparing them for “the emotional or behavioral impact of the transition to the workplace,” according to a new survey released today by the Mary Christie Institute. An even greater portion of recent graduates with high financial stress—50 percent—reported feeling unprepared.
The survey, which Mary Christie produced in partnership with the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Healthy Minds Network, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and Morning Consult, asked 1,005 young professionals between the ages of 22 and 28 about their emotional well-being. More than half (51 percent) reported needing help for emotional or mental health problems in the past year, with 43 percent screening positive for anxiety and 31 percent for depression. The gender disparity was notable; 68 percent of men self-reported good or excellent mental health compared to 45 percent of women.
Of the 39 percent of recent graduates who said college had prepared them emotionally for the workforce, more than half cited peer relationships (57 percent) and extracurriculars (51 percent) as having a positive impact, while just 43 percent named mental health counseling and 40 percent cited career services.
“These findings raise questions about how proactive colleges are in including emotional and mental health in their career preparedness strategies or in their pedagogy,” the study states.
But time seems to have helped ease the young adults’ distress; slightly more than half reported that their mental health had improved since they were in college. Among Black students, the share was even higher, with 63 percent saying their mental health is better now.