Feelings of stress and anxiety are still prevalent among college students today, according to findings from the second annual Thriving College Student Index Report, which was released late last week.
The study was fielded by Ipsos and surveyed 25,000 students residing in communities managed by members of the College Student Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition, which consists of 24 student housing companies. The survey was conducted in partnership with mental health non-profits including the ‘Hi, How Are You Project’ and The Jed Foundation.
The report showed that, while there has been slight improvement year-over-year, over half of the students surveyed are feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Sixty-five percent of respondents noted they were feeling stressed, down from 70 percent last year; 57 percent were feeling anxious and worried, down from 63 percent; and 57 percent were feeling overwhelmed, down from 61 percent.
Instances of feeling happy also increased by five percentage points to 55 percent over the past year, with nearly 2/3 of the students surveyed saying they felt thankful either all of the time or often. The top two behaviors students are engaging in to destress are listening to music (82 percent) and socializing with friends (67 percent).
From the residential experience standpoint, one in four students stated that they felt a strong connection to their residential community, describing it as their “home away from home.” Seventy-four percent of students acknowledged that opportunities to socialize within their residential communities are abundant, but 41 percent suggested they weren’t sure if their communities were able to support their mental wellbeing.
When asked how student housing properties could do a better job with supporting mental wellbeing, the majority of open-ended responses from students suggested hosting events, which provide an opportunity to engage with others.
“As student housing providers, we are committed to supporting the wellbeing of our residents and want to learn directly from them about how they’re feeling and the behaviors they engage in to support their mental health,” says Jonathan Bove, leadership committee chairperson of the College Student Mental Wellness Advocacy Coalition and executive vice president with Landmark Properties.
“Drawing from the insights we’ve gleaned from this report, our next step is to provide our residents and team members greater access to information on mental health resources and implement programs that increase opportunities for socializing, and more connected and supportive conversations that begin with ‘Hi, how are you?’,” he says.