Supporting College Students During Spring Break

Supporting College Students During Spring Break

Amaura Kemmerer, LICSW 
Executive Vice President of Client Engagement 

For some college students, years have passed since spring break took its recognizable form—one that can be marked by partying and binge drinking, at least according to modern media. In March 2020, when the onset of the pandemic first dispersed students from their campuses, the sun-soaked, friend-filled vacations many had arranged morphed into unnerving spells of isolation. Week-long plans to see the world turned to quarantine, without an end date in sight.

By the following year, 2021, uncertainty still prevailed. Students protested as their schools cancelled spring break to prevent potential Covid outbreaks. Decisions to replace the vacation with intermittent wellness days throughout the semester were met with widespread concern about the negative impact on student mental health. After a year of being embroiled in a global environment of stress and fear, young people were outspoken about needing more than 24 hours at a time to rest and recover.

Now, with people worldwide becoming more comfortable traveling and socializing en masse, spring break 2023 has the potential to be more-or-less “normal” by pre-pandemic standards. At the same time, some college administrators have noted how today’s students are choosing to socialize in untraditional ways, straying away from large gatherings and preferring more intimate groups. As this year’s March holiday approaches, time will tell whether students will mimic conventional depictions of spring break, and engage in risky behavior, or chart a “new normal,” characterized by the self-care practices often associated with Gen Z.

However college students choose to spend their spring break, their schools can support them. Faculty can be conscious of assignment deadlines so that students do not feel pressure to work and can take full advantage of the time off. For students avoiding the more stereotypical spring break activities, like partying or substance use general awareness campaigns could help make them feel confident in their decisions. Offering programs and events on campus or in the community for students who don’t travel or return home for spring break promote fun and safe opportunities to socialize. All students should be able to enjoy their vacation without the “fear of missing out” making them question whether their plans are “good enough” or “social enough.” And for those who do want to prioritize socializing during this time, university officials should provide education and resources around how to minimize risks that come with engaging  in substance use or sexual activity.

Regardless of how students choose to spend their spring break, they need around-the-clock access to mental health services, just as they need access during all other school breaks, including summer. Colleges and universities are increasingly implementing solutions for mental health support that are accessible to students, wherever they might be in the world. Christie Campus Health can partner with colleges and universities looking to ensure there are no disruptions to students getting the care they need. 

Christie Campus Health (Christie) offers a high touch, customized solution for colleges and universities that complements existing mental health and wellness efforts. Whether that is instant support from a licensed clinician available 24/7 or access to no-cost counseling and teletherapy sessions through their vast provider network, Christie is exclusively focused on the unique needs of college students, wherever they are. The Christie full continuum of care also includes services such as Student Navigators to assist with referrals and specialty care; psychiatric prescribing; evidence-based tools like Headspace, the leading meditation and mindfulness app; SilverCloud, a self-directed and clinically validated ICBT program; and a curated Wellness & Navigation Hub with over 1,000 articles and videos to support student mental health and wellness. Contact Christie Campus Health to learn more.

How common is procrastination in college students and how does it relate to mental health?

Discovering a far more unstructured lifestyle than they knew in high school, many students struggle with time management upon arriving at college. They might put off assignments, overestimating how much time remains before the deadline, only to find later they’ve fallen behind. They shrug off a last-minute submission or, worse, force an all-nighter, assuming that everyone procrastinates. And it’s true—almost everyone does, especially students. Yet the prevalence of procrastination on college campuses may be the reason the depth of the issue ends up flying under the radar.

Read More

MindWise Innovations and Christie Campus Health Announce a Partnership to Support Mental Health on College and University Campuses

Christie Campus Health, the leading provider of mental health and well-being support services to colleges and universities, and MindWise Innovations, an award-winning service of Riverside Community Care that provides evidence-based mental health and substance use services to schools, organizations, and mental health professionals, are proud to announce a partnership.

Read More

The Impact of the Student Mental Health Crisis on Faculty

Amidst stalled contract negotiations, the faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago went on strike in part to demand the expansion of campus mental health services—but not for themselves. They hoped to outsource care for their students, an overwhelming number of whom have been struggling emotionally and turning to their instructors for help. “Right now, UIC faculty are winging it… and I’m not trained on how I should be supporting these students. I didn’t get a degree in that,” UIC senior lecturer and union official Charitianne Williams told NPR Illinois. “I have a degree in English.”

Read More