There are a multitude of factors that impact a student’s decision to enroll in college. When evaluating the institution that best aligns with their needs, students will examine everything: cost, location, services, programming, degree offerings, campus life, and much more. However, there is one area of need that students are identifying as an increasing priority when deciding whether or not to attend, and stay enrolled at, a specific institution: mental health services.
What The Research Shows:
In a new article published by Inside Higher Education, data from a 2023 Student Voice survey shows that, of all the services that students prioritized in their decision of whether or not to enroll at an institution, the majority indicated that mental health services were the most important factor. More than physical health resources, dining, and all other campus services, incoming students are increasingly showing colleges and universities that having access to tools for things like anxiety, stress, depression, and emotional support is a necessity during their college journey.
In line with recent reports that show mental health remains a top concern for campus leadership, there is now evidence to support that students, faculty, and staff are all coming to terms with the importance of finding new ways to support the mental health and wellness needs for the entire campus community. “This is about what the whole college experience can offer,” said David Walden – Director of the Counseling Center at Hamilton College – in the Inside Higher Education article. “Students are looking for institutions to provide guidance on the art of living. About how to connect with themselves and others. That goes well beyond specific clinical offerings and into an institution’s broad-based approach to well-being.”
How Institutions Can Address It:
Over much of the last decade, alongside seeing an increase in demand for mental health services, YOU at College has focused on ways to help institutions deliver on prioritizing mental health and well-being. Through building tools that streamline connection for students, faculty and staff to content, resources, assessments, skill-building activities, and all relevant campus programming, we were able to create a continuum of care that provides students with evidence-informed and research-backed solutions to harness the knowledge and skills to succeed in what David Walden called “the art of living.”
As institutions continue grappling with ways in which they can keep mental health top-of-mind, as well as highlight the mental health resources they offer to both prospective and enrolled students, finding ways to increase equitable access to those tools remains vitally important. In building both the YOU platform and HelpCompass, we put students at the heart of our design process and built tools that personalized and tailored support to ensure every student has access to relevant support that meets their needs. Not only did we create tools that personalize to every individual, we also built our tools to harness campus branding to ensure that students know their campus is taking action to support their mental health.
What Students In Our Network Are Saying:
Since we first built the YOU platform in 2014, we have continued iterating and enhancing our tools based on feedback from our partner network and student users. In a recent 2023 Student Survey of our network, we sought to learn more about how our students were connecting to help, how they were engaging with their mental health, as well as if the YOU platform was delivering on target mental health outcomes. See below for some feedback from over 1,600 student users:
- 95% of students experienced at least one target outcome
- 74% of students would recommend YOU to a friend
- 73% of students agreed that the YOU platform supports their mental health
- 73% of students agreed that using the YOU platform supports overall well-being
- 69% of students found resources relevant to their unique identities
- 68% of students agreed that YOU makes them feel like well-being is a priority at their school
What we’ve grown to understand is that, by listening to students and campus leaders, taking their feedback, and ensuring our solutions meet those needs, we are better able to build effective partnerships to deliver support that works. In providing institutions with a comprehensive framework for mental health support, our tools can help institutions increase mental health awareness, ensure mental health support is a campus priority, and deliver personalized care that meets the unique needs, identities, and expectations for the entire campus community.
About YOU at College – YOU at College offers a suite of scalable, research-backed, and efficacious solutions designed to help campuses thrive. Combining world-class digital experiences with effective engagement strategies, our solutions – YOU for Students, YOU for Faculty & Staff, Nod, and HelpCompass – offer holistic well-being tools that ensure success for the whole campus. YOU at College was developed by Grit Digital Health, LLC.