• COVID-19’s Impact on College Student Mental Health
    Feb 03, 2021 | Center for Collegiate Mental Health

    The impact of COVID-19 has led to widespread concerns about its unique effects on college students’ mental health.  The Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) data, which represents approximately 50,000 treatment-seeking students at 140+ institutions, suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on college students’ mental health is considerably more nuanced than generally reported. Surveys of college students conducted after March 2020 have suggested that psychological distress among college students has increased.

    To examine the impact of COVID-19 on mental health more thoroughly, using a broader range of longitudinal clinical data, the Center for Collegiate Mental health (CCMH) has developed a five-part blog series to describe the impact of COVID-19 on college student mental health from multiple perspectives. While surveys offer an important perspective and provide an immediate snapshot of data, CCMH data is gathered methodically over time and then examined retrospectively. While this method requires patience for data to accumulate, it also provides a more robust population-level perspective (among students seeking services).

    Part 1: COVID-19’s Impact on College Student Mental Health

    In Part 2 of 5, CCMH explored the relationship between COVID-19, reasons for seeking treatment, and mental health impacts. Expanding on these findings, Part 2 of 5 will zoom out to compare students who sought treatment before COVID-19 to those who sought treatment after the onset of COVID-19. This blog explores the following questions: 

    • Did students’ self-reported psychological distress change from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020? 
    • Did students’ presenting problems, as assessed by clinicians, change from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020? 

    Part 2: Mental Health Changes after the Onset of COVID-19

    In this blog, Part 3 of 5, CCMH explores how 12 negative impacts of COVID-19, as reported by students seeking mental health treatment, varied according to 9 different demographic characteristics.  

    Part 3: Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 on Various Demographic Groups

    In this blog, Part 4 of 5, CCMH explores how COVID-19 impacted student help-seeking and the services provided by college counseling centers. Specifically, this blog will address the following questions: 

    • Did the average number of clients receiving services (utilization) in college counseling centers change after the onset of COVID-19? 
    • Did the average number of appointments attended by clients at college counseling centers change after the onset of COVID-19? 
    • Did clients who sought services receive more or less treatment after the onset of COVID-19? 

    Part 4: Impact of COVID-19 on Students Served at College Counseling Centers

    In this blog, Part 5 of 5, CCMH reviewed the qualitative responses from 570 counseling centers between August and October 2020 to the following questions: 

    • How did your center respond to COVID-19? 
    • What were the biggest challenges you faced in responding to COVID-19? 

    Part 5: The Responses and Challenges Faced by College Counseling Centers After the Onset of COVID-19