In College Students, COVID-19 Has Increased Depression Rate and Raised New Barriers to Mental Healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting significant stress on college students, many of whom are worried about increasing financial pressures caused by the pandemic and the lack of easily accessible mental healthcare. Those are two of the troubling findings of a survey of more than 18,000 college students on 14 campuses, published July 9 by the Healthy Minds Network, which found the rate of depression among college students has increased since the start of the pandemic. The survey, conducted between March and May of this year in collaboration with the American College Health Association, focused on students’ attitudes, concerns, preventive behaviors, and their perceived supportiveness of colleges and universities related to COVID-19.

Mental health expert Sarah Ketchen Lipson—a Boston University School of Public Health assistant professor of health law, policy, and management and co-principal investigator of the national Healthy Minds Study—says the survey’s findings can help inform decisions by college and university leaders who are positioned to implement programs and policies to support students’ needs over the summer and into the fall 2020 semester.

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