College Mental Health Crisis: Tips & Insights

Depending on when your school starts, you're probably weeks or maybe a short month from the start of classes. How do the college mental health experts at the Jed Foundation suggest that you spend those remaining days?

College Parents of America applauds the leadership of the American Council on Education.  In particular, the research by Hollie Chessman and Morgan Taylor that is summarized as College Student Mental Health & Well-Being library is important for all college families to follow.

It is clear that the national spotlight is on this real and growing crisis.  In fact, “headlines in newspapers across the country are reporting that a mental health crisis exists at U.S. colleges and universities, and that it is worsening. Campuses and their counseling centers are seeing increased, unmet demand from students.  According to GradGuard’s review of National College Health Assessment students reports rapid increase of mental health conditions impacting college life.

In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.”

So the purpose of this post is to offer tips for college parents from the experts at the Jed Foundation.

  • Make a list. Think about things you wish you had time to do during the school year – whether they’re fun activities or productive projects. Write them down, and start crossing them off your list. You’ll feel accomplished by the time you’re back in school.
  • Step Out. If you’re getting bored with your daily routine, change things up! Instead of spending the day on the couch, get out and volunteer for a cause you care about or try something new like an art class or a new sport. Push yourself that extra mile and you just might find your favorite new hobby.
  • Get some sun. Did you know that a Vitamin D deficiency is closely linked to mood and depression? The warm weather won’t last forever, so be sure to soak it up while you can – just don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Reconnect. Spend time with loved ones. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend some quality time with your favorite people. Share highlights from your year and catch up on what they’ve been up to while you were in school.
  • Recharge. Give yourself a break! After all, that’s what summer is for. Go for a walk, sleep, catch up on your favorite Netflix shows, or read a book. Don’t forget to devote time to yourself and your wellbeing.

Looking to be even more proactive before beginning college? For families about to begin as college freshman, try the Jed Foundation’s Transition Year. It’s an incredible online resource that focuses and students and families being emotionally prepared for the transition to and persistence through the freshman college year.