Spring Calendars Reflect Attention to Student Mental Health on College Campuses

Spring Calendars Reflect Attention to Student Mental Health on College Campuses

Kelly Pease
Editorial Contributor

With covid-19, election year, remote learning, everyday stressors and now campus and community spikes in infection rates; college students have had a lot to deal with this semester. According to The College Student Fall 2020 Mental Health Survey, recently published by the Hi, How Are You Project and the American Campus Communities (ACC), 85% of students reported feeling somewhat or considerably more stressed as a result of the pandemic, and 29% said they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with remote learning. The study also reported that 93% of college students agree or strongly agree their mental health is an important component of their overall health and wellbeing, while 66% said the pandemic forced them to take a closer look at their own mental health. Now, many students are urging their colleges to take their mental health into consideration when planning spring term calendars. 

Over the last few weeks, many colleges and universities released spring calendar plans that noticeably excluded a spring break. Students across the nation have vocalized their concerns about no longer having a break from their rigorous studies, many of which are being undertaken in solitude. The students indicated they did not believe schools sufficiently considered student mental health in their spring semester planning. Many institutions heard the students loud and clear. In response, they edited their calendars to include mental health days, some offering as many as five mental health days spread out through the spring term. Schools are deliberately not  including Mondays or Fridays as options to avoid students going away for long weekends and being exposed to COVID-19 in non-campus settings. Other colleges did not add mental health days to their calendars, leading their students to question how important student mental health is on those campuses. 

The fact that so many schools across the nation have listened to student feedback and incorporated mental health days into their calendars shows how far the conversations about mental health and stigma on college campuses have progressed. Advocates note that it is encouraging to see so many students raising their hands and saying they need mental health considerations, and it is laudable that so many schools are responding. In addition, with mental health days, many colleges are investing in additional counseling center resources, including tele-therapy capacity, so that students can be helped no matter where they are. The response of students pushing for mental health considerations shows a positive trend in dealing with student mental health in higher education. At Christie Campus Health, where we focus solely on the mental health of college students, we strongly support this trend.

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