Student Housing Companies Form Coalition to Advocate for Mental Wellness

Twenty-four student housing providers have joined together to form the College Student Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition. Bill Bayless, chief executive officer at American Campus Communities (ACC), one of the group’s charter members, says the coalition was formed in response to the “record numbers” of college students experiencing mental health issues. According to Bayless, one in four students has reported being diagnosed with mental illness, and one in five has experienced suicidal ideation. 

The coalition and its members aim to address this crisis both by challenging stigmas and making resources available to individuals struggling with their mental health. 

“We believe it all starts with breaking down the shame and stigma around mental illness. No one should ever feel ashamed for inquiring about mental health resources or discussing mental wellness,” says Bayless. 

The Hi, How Are You Project, a mental health-focused nonprofit which has partnered with ACC in the past, is joining the coalition in its first initiative — creating a survey to collect information (anonymously) from over 800,000 students, to be launched on October 10, World Mental Health Day. Ipsos, a research and consulting firm, will also collaborate with the coalition in order to execute the North American survey, the findings of which will be published as the Thriving College Student Index. This data will inform the coalition’s efforts to create support for students, made accessible through their residences. The JED Foundation, a national nonprofit for emotional health and suicide prevention in teenagers and young adults, will also contribute to these efforts. 

“We will turn the data into action items to effectively connect residents to established campus resources, and promote ways to manage stress and anxiety in college,” says Jennifer Cassidy, senior vice president at Cardinal Group Management (CGM). “We will create training modules and content that can be used across all coalition member communities,” adds Cassidy. 

Moving forward, clear communication will be key. In order to ensure that students are aware of the initiatives and available help, Coolidge says that the coalition is “sending emails, putting up flyers and reminding staff to communicate directly with residents about the upcoming survey.”

Companies interested in joining the Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition can reach out to [email protected]

Companies currently included in the coalition include:

  • American Campus Communities
  • Asset Living
  • Balfour Beatty
  • CA Student Living
  • Caliber Living
  • Campus Advantage
  • Campus Apartments
  • Campus Life & Style
  • Cardinal Group Management
  • Core Spaces
  • Dinerstein
  • Greystar
  • Landmark Properties
  • Michaels Student Living
  • PeakMade Real Estate
  • Pierce Education Properties
  • The Preiss Company
  • Redstone Residential
  • RISE
  • RPM Living
  • Student Quarters
  • The Scion Group
  • University Partners
  • Yugo