Approaches to Addressing Mental Health Needs of Community College Students
Student mental health and well-being are critical to postsecondary academic success. As mental health issues rise among students in the United States, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges increasingly recognize that substantial wraparound supports—including mental health services—are essential for some students to succeed. However, limited information is available about promising campus- and system-level efforts at community colleges to respond to the student mental health crisis.
To address this research gap, members of the College Completion Network’s Lead team, Accelerated Pathways team, and Growth Mindset team are conducting a descriptive analysis of two-year colleges that are implementing emerging or promising1 approaches to supporting students’ mental wellness, with a focus on innovative approaches that combine prevention, early intervention, and services. Researchers will work closely with Active Minds and the JED Foundation to identify and recruit at least 10 college campuses, emphasizing those serving diverse populations and that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. At each site, the team will conduct semi-structured interviews with 3 to 5 stakeholders, including administrators, health center staff, faculty, and program directors, to capture multiple perspectives of campus-based mental health efforts. In addition, the team will document key facilitators and barriers to the success of the approaches to inform efforts at other community colleges.
Study period: 2021–22
This project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305H170085 to American Institutes for Research (AIR).
1 For the purposes of the study, emerging practices refer to approaches that have been assessed through field-based summaries, evaluations in progress, or unpublished intervention evaluations that show some evidence of effectiveness and plausibility of reach, feasibility, sustainability, and transferability. Promising practices refer to approaches that have been assessed through unpublished intervention evaluations that have not been peer reviewed and that demonstrate some evidence of effectiveness, reach, feasibility, sustainability, and transferability.