Colleges and universities often offer students a wide range of activities, amenities, and tools. They aim to provide students with the tools they need to do well. This also could mean providing resources to support mental health in college students and overall student well-being for many universities. There are various ways colleges may be able to provide resources to support a student’s needs. Why Is Mental and Physical Health Important to Colleges? As a school, the focus on education is easily understood on a college campus. Yet, providing students with resources to maintain their physical and mental health is also important to the school’s overall success. When a student is ill or battling mental health issues like depression and anxiety, that may impact their ability to learn. Stressors of college life are not always easy to communicate, either. Many students could find it difficult to open up about what’s going on for many reasons. However, students may thrive when colleges work to mitigate some of these risks for developing stressors. It may be important to consider what students are facing on campus and within social groups at the college. Take a look at a few of the most common concerns on campuses and in higher education overall during the pandemic. Students who now face the requirement to learn virtually struggled. In some situations, they were unable to connect with many people, stuck far from home, and had to work through a new way to learn.Some students struggled due to the political unrest in the country. That led to anxiety and even fear about what could happen to them if they were away from home.Others struggled with travel uncertainty. This was a key concern for international students – would they be able to get back to college to learn?COVID itself has hampered education in various ways. Not just in forcing a virtual educational experience, but also with some students becoming ill far from home or lacking access to medical care if they were ill. Uncertainty financially also played a role. Financial limitations, thanks to limited work opportunities and concerns about long-term outlooks, impacted some students as well. All of these and other concerns limit a student’s ability to focus on their coursework and education as a whole. That is why it is often beneficial for colleges and universities to develop resources and tools to support mental and physical health as a standard. What Are Ways Colleges and Universities May Be Able to Support Student Needs? Organizations may be able to do small things that may create a big impact on students. There is no doubt that students may need to make the decision to engage in such programs and opportunities. Yet, with good availability and communication about their presence, that may be possible. Provide Onsite Support for Mental Health Studies indicate many college students struggle with mental health. This is not new. It has occurred for years prior to the pandemic. It was estimated that 1 in 3 students reported a mental health disorder on a college campus in 2020. Key factors impacting students include concerns about being able to find a job after college and adjusting to life away from home. Some ways to potentially improve this is to provide more support on campus come from education itself. Curriculum and programs on campus may help. Consider the benefit of providing education on mental health to students. This could be made a component of curriculum. Creating psycho-educational learning opportunities into the campus experience may also be beneficial in the mental health in college students. Creating a whole campus community could be one way to facilitate this. For example, it may help when there’s engagement with faculty and staff along with students in activities. In addition, organizations may wish to take a closer look at policies in place now that could impact student abilities to communicate concerns and problems. Are students able to communicate when something is not okay without facing repercussions such as having to leave school? Are there safe ways for students to communicate with staff and faculty about their difficulties or what they see on campus without being put in a spotlight? Seek out ways to improve the campus’s physical environment, too, to encourage ways to communicate, share, and socialize. Though many college campuses had to do away with dorm activities and group functions due to COVID-19 protocols, it may be important to find ways to allow students to continue to engage. That may include, for example, creating seating areas that may allow students to still come together even though it may mean more distance between them. Utilize Technology to Support Student Needs Increasingly there may be a need to move to virtual learning. Even when it comes to students being on campus, some prefer to study from their dorm and, when outbreaks occur, it may become necessary to isolate students. Yet, for this type of scenario to be effective, there often have to still be ways for students to reach out and connect with others. Social isolation is a big concern for student mental health and overall wellbeing. Colleges may need to find ways to ensure students still feel as though they are a part of the community even when they are distance learning. Technology may offer some help. Video classrooms are one option, but just lecturing through a video call may not be enough. Teachers and students may need to have ways to communicate one-on-one. There may also be tools to help students connect online through school-sponsored forums and meet ups. Instead of in-person experiences, provide options for virtual students as well. Then, provide opportunities to communicate about mental health as well. Students on or off campus may need a way to talk about what they are experiencing with therapists, school counselors, and other professionals. Yet, distance may be a concern. Other students on an open campus may be unwilling to reach out to a therapist in person, but through telehealth, they may be more willing to make that connection. Utilizing mobile wellness apps may also be a way colleges and universities support others. Providing an app that lets students connect with others facing similar concerns or just learn how to stay fit and active on campus may be a widely used tool that’s easy for schools to offer. Getting Students Involved in Their Wellbeing Education and communication are often two core components of success for mental health and physical health on college campuses. Providing resources, interactive tools, and various events to help students gain more insight into their wellbeing may help provide that extra support a student needs. It may be helpful to develop student-led programs that open the communication about what’s bothering students today. Create volunteer opportunities. Encourage students to support each other as a community. Make it simple for students to know specifically where help is when they need it. Finding the Solutions Needed Times have changed significantly. Many students may face concerns over their future while living in an uncertain world now. As a direct result of this, they might need extra support and new ways to connect with those that may be able to help them. Each college and university may need to have student- and faculty-led programs to develop new ways for reaching students and providing for their needs in the current environment. Fostering a sense of inclusion and working to support mental and physical health provides for many college student needs. It may also help to make the educational process on college campuses more effective in some situations. For students looking for help, reach out and do not find yourself limited by the options available. Online programs may exist to support many of the needs today’s students need if they are willing to seek it out and embrace what it may be able to offer.