From May 29 to June 3, 2020, TimelyMD conducted a nationwide survey of college students enrolled at two- and four-year institutions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and telehealth usage (with 502 responses). The survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of college students (85%) are experiencing increased stress and/or anxiety during COVID-19. Despite the increase in stress and anxiety, only 21% of students surveyed sought emotional support by talking in person or via telehealth to a licensed counselor or behavioral health professional.
“The bottom line is this: Student mental health is suffering during COVID-19,” said Larry Moneta, nationally-known student affairs expert and former Duke University VP of student affairs. “Colleges and universities need to be ready with the appropriate resources in the fall to care for students, whether they’re on or off campus.”
Click here to gain access to the full survey results, including:
- Top five causes of stress and anxiety for students
- Notable, region-specific causes of stress and anxiety
- Top five ways students are coping
- How students feel about using telehealth for emotional support
Uncertainty related to their education was a consistent cause of stress and anxiety, according to students. However, the survey revealed other common stressors caused by COVID-19.
“I am home all the time now, so I’m stressing about the eventual return to social situations,” said a 21-year-old male student in New York.
“I have fear about how COVID-19 has impacted the upcoming presidential election,” said a 20-year-old male student in Florida.
“Separation from family is causing me stress and anxiety,” said a 20-year-old female student in Minnesota.
In the face of increased stress and anxiety, Students are finding different ways to cope. TimelyMD’s survey revealed the most common ways students are coping with the increased stress and anxiety. Additionally, students shared some of the unique ways they’re managing stress and anxiety during the pandemic, including video games, life coaches, online well-being courses and baking.
The survey also revealed that 75% of students are open to utilizing telehealth to receive mental health care, with 20% of students indicating that they “definitely would” consider using telehealth for mental health support. With the CDC and ACHA both recommending that colleges and universities offer virtual services when possible to support students, telehealth has a vital role to play for campuses. Telehealth can serve an extension of on-campus resources for remote assessment of medical symptoms, medical triage and mental health care. Of the students who had previously used telehealth, 65% reported that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experiences using telehealth.
“Many of the health care needs of students can be well served, 24/7/365, through video and phone consultation,” said Moneta. “Certainly now, when direct contact with caregivers is to be avoided unless absolutely necessary, telehealth is an ideal solution. This is true for treating most colds, rashes and stomach ailments, but is even more critical for mental health needs where multiple visits may be necessary.”
With Generation Z taking over college campuses, this group of digital natives is clearly ready to access care in ways that are convenient for them. As the pandemic continues to impact mental health, colleges and universities will need to offer the mental health services that students are looking for.
“During a time of isolation like the one produced by this pandemic, telehealth is an especially valuable way of providing emotional support,” said Dr. Jan Hall, executive director of mental health at TimelyMD. “In some situations, it is the students’ primary means for talking with a counselor. Telemental health providers can help students develop strategies for coping in this time of increased stress.”
TimelyMD provides mental health care that empowers students with strategies for managing stress and anxiety during COVID-19. As your campus makes plans for the semesters to come, contact us to learn how telehealth can transform the healthcare equation for your college or university, and make a difference in the lives of your students.
You can gain access to the full TimelyMD survey results here.