In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic caused disruptions to education across the globe, forcing the implementation of remote learning models and online classrooms. This sudden transition triggered a variety of unprecedented mental health challenges for students, making it harder for them to cope with stress and social isolation.
While the crisis did stimulate innovation within the education landscape, it also amplified many short-term and long-term concerns for students, such as:
Now that schools and colleges are back to on-campus teaching mode, supporting the mental health concerns of students has become the need of the hour. But education stakeholders must first try to understand the mindset shifts in their student population and preempt the learning challenges they might face. They also need to identify the gaps between existing mental health policies and services. Here are some steps that can be taken to tackle this problem:
Student well-being is something that impacts all aspects of administrative decisions – enrollment process, budgeting, event planning, counselor recruitment, faculty training, investments in learner management software systems, etc. All this requires decision-makers to adopt data-informed and holistic approaches to student lifecycle management.
What more can be done to address the mental health crisis – to guarantee a safe and productive environment for students?
In these unprecedented times, having a sense of community connection has never been so crucial for students. It lends a sense of calm and security to students – something that educational institutions are not yet fully equipped for or trained to deal with at the moment. Often, cases of bullying on campus add to the mental suffering of vulnerable students. As per the National Center for Educational Statistics report, students’ race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and physical appearance are the most common reasons for being bullied at schools. To curb this, stringent anti-bullying policies must be enacted on campuses, with options for proactive support helplines. Encouraging peer-support groups within campus can also be a helpful alternative for students who’re sitting on waitlists for individual therapy sessions.
There are many ways educational institutions can integrate mental health support into campus life:
Although most schools and colleges have now hired mental health therapists/professional guidance counselors, there is still a need to train faculty members to:
Both therapists and faculty members should collaborate with institution administrators to reach out to students needing immediate assistance.
For providing support at all stages of student life (onboarding to graduation), schools and colleges must have a repository of resources that educate students & faculty members on dealing with various mental health concerns. They can be made available in many formats:
Schools & colleges can associate with community organizations for providing stress-mitigating tools to their students, such as:
By working together, faculty members, therapists, and mental health organizations can make educational institutions much safer places for students. Such initiatives will not only improve the wellness quotient of the campus but also lessen student dropout rates.
As per American Council in Education, Spring Term Survey Report Feb 2021,
73% of presidents of private 4-year institutions indicated that students’ mental health and wellness have been the top most pressing issues for them. 94% of them reported that anxiety was the most complained-about problem.
For 58% of presidents, the second most common concern is the mental health of their faculty and staff.
By conducting regular mindset surveys, educational institutions can easily evaluate the impact of various mental health initiatives on their students’ well-being. For this, faculty & staff members need to be empowered with platforms that support data capture from multiple streams (like on-ground events, quizzes, email surveys, online community gatherings, etc.).
Such information-gathering methods can accurately assess the stress levels and problems of students. This helps in creating an inclusive, interactive, personalized, and stress-free campus environment for all. A few great ways these reports can be used are:
By using efficient learner management software like Cocolevion’s LIMS, medical schools can easily process data from multiple online & offline sources. LIMS comes with a built-in wellness tracking tool that keeps the campus community connected and ensures timely mental health support for students.
This game-changing software empowers medical school management with student data and performance evaluations beyond pure academics. To know more about LIMS, please visit www.cocolevio.com/lims or contact our sales rep at (512) 222-5730 for a detailed product demo.
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