Mental health challenges were already common on campus before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, even more college students are struggling with their mental health: nationwide, anxiety and depression rates are rising among college students during the pandemic. Here in New York City, 49 percent of CUNY students reported an increased need in mental health support during the pandemic. When students struggle with their mental health without support, their academic performance suffers — making students more vulnerable to leaving school without their degree.
During the pandemic, our Young Advocates led a campaign to increase mental health support on their campuses. What do students need from their campus and state leaders to end the student mental health crisis? Read what our Advocates had to say in their blog posts below. Ready to take action? Sign our Advocates’ petition to increase and diversify mental health counselors on campus. You can also share our messages with our social media toolkit, and sign up for the campus pledge to end the college student mental health crisis in New York.
At many of New York’s colleges, there are not enough mental health counselors on campus to meet students’ needs.
“Despite the high need for mental health support, the current state of mental health counseling on CUNY campuses remains subpar. As of October 2020, the staffing ratio of mental health counselors to CUNY and SUNY students is approximately 1:2,400. At one CUNY college, it was reported that the ratio went up to 1:6,900.” – Emily Healy, CUNY-City College student
“Going into college as a first-generation student and coming from a community lacking access to mental health services is already tough. What’s even tougher is not being aware of mental health services on your campus — or finding out about them, but learning there are only a limited number of counseling sessions you can access before you’re referred to an off-campus provider.” – Arene Holston, SUNY-Oneonta student
Improving mental health services also means diversifying counselors, combatting stigma for seeking care, and increasing awareness of programs across campuses.
“Mental health providers on campus should be diversified. Mental health counselors should mirror the diversity of the student population so they can better address students’ challenges from a cultural standpoint.” – Lucresse Tato, CUNY School of Medicine/Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education
“Campuses should advertise their counseling centers and services more; allow unlimited counseling sessions; diversify mental health counselors to include BIPOC practitioners; and work to break the stigma of seeking mental health support.” – Arene Holston, SUNY-Oneonta student
For more student perspectives on supporting young people’s mental health, read the rest of the blogs from our Young Advocates:
- “When the World Went Dark: How Covid-19 Impacted My Mental Health,” by Emily Healy, CUNY-City College
- “What’s the Deal? How Colleges Can Support Students’ Mental Health,” by Arene Holston, SUNY-Oneonta
- “CUNY needs more investment in mental health counselors — especially now,” by ToniAnn Ruggiero, CUNY-John Jay College
- “I’m Not ‘Crazy,’ I Just Need Someone Who Understands Me,” by Sharon Albino, CUNY-John Jay College
- “I Was Fine, Until I Wasn’t: Why Colleges Need to Support Students’ Mental Health,” by Lucresse Tato, CUNY School of Medicine/Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education