Colleges prioritize mental health help as students return to campus

Schools prepare for more students seeking help amid pandemic

As many college students return to campus this fall for the first time since the pandemic, experts are offering advice for taking care of mental health -- and this generation of students is more open to talking about it than ever.

As students take off for college amid an ongoing global pandemic, campuses are making sure to offer mental health resources to those who need them.

Many students, both returning and new, are heading to campus this fall for in-person learning as COVID continues to spread throughout the nation. As campuses adjust their operations to fit the needs of their students and the public health crisis, colleges are putting an emphasis on mental health.

Janet Jansen, from the University of Michigan’s Wolverine Wellness, says universities are preparing for more students seeking help because of the pandemic.

“We know that students are coming to campus who have lost loved ones, who have watched their parents struggle financially,” Jansen said. “While that might not be the case for everyone, understanding that some have different obstacles (they are facing) helps (build empathy).”

According to Jansen, a good way to conquer those obstacles, at least the social ones, is to manage expectations with clear communication among peers. Jansen says that students should be clear about what activities they are or are not going to engage in, and why.

Other universities like Oakland University and Michigan State University are cultivating support systems to help students manage their mental health amid an unfamiliar school year.

“I know the provost has talked about having empathy and grace with our students,” said Kat Cooper with Michigan State University.

Jansen says that like many schools, U-M is hoping to normalize the idea that getting help is OK, and to help students feel comfortable seeking assistance when they need it.

Watch the full report in the video player above.

Related: Colleges offer advice for those new, returning to campus amid pandemic

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.