Career College Central

Career College Central - October 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 40 of 55

Subscribe at 41 W hen Career College Central began its series on the mental health of college students, the novel virus COVID-19 did not exist in humans. e phrase "new normal" wasn't part of our collective vocabulary, and most laypeople probably didn't know what an N95 was. And already, college students were depressed, anxious, and suicidal. "Our students [deal] with really large social problems on a regular basis — they're thinking about school shootings, climate change, big issues we haven't begun to solve," said Laura Horne, chief program officer at Active Minds. en, the novel coronavirus swept the globe. Seemingly overnight, campuses and dorms were shut down, classes were moved online, and thousands of students saw their plans crumble. Human resilience, innovation, and hope abound, but the 2020 pandemic has not been kind to anyone's mental health, nor to the higher education system. e pandemic and its effects have changed what the near future of higher education looks like for colleges and universities, instructors, counselors, and— especially—students. Most students have faced a high degree of what Sharon Mitchell, PhD, president of AUCCCD (Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors) and the senior director of student wellness at the University at Buffalo, calls "ambiguous loss," including losses like missing graduation ceremonies, the final season on a sports team, the chance to go to prom, or the opportunity to live independently for the first time. Some have experienced "financial and career uncertainty, difficulty adjusting to online learning or the loss of a loved one to COVID-19," Mitchell told the American Psychological Association. Together, these losses and those imminent challenges have caused a major shi in enrollment trends. "One in six high-school seniors who expected to attend a four-year college full time before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus now think that they will choose a different path this fall," reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. A new College Reaction/Axios poll says that 22 percent of college students across all four years are no longer planning to enroll this fall. What's more, an Edventures Research report titled e Effects of COVID-19 on High School Experience and College Choice not only found that 37 percent of surveyed students said COVID-19 influenced their college choice, only 54 percent felt very sure they had made the right choice. Under different, more ideal circumstances, this is exactly where a counselor would step in. Under these circumstances, when counselors are most needed, they are least likely to be able to connect with the students who need them. e financial, health, and social effects of the 2020 pandemic have greatly impacted the lives of students, counselors' visibility into those lives, and any sense of how best to support at-risk students and recognize those newly at risk. According to survey results released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August, about 30 percent of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, compared with just 11 percent during the same time period last year. And a survey conducted in April by Active Minds found that 80 percent of college students nationwide said COVID-19 had negatively impacted their mental health, and over half said they don't know where to go to get help. For counselors at high schools, colleges, and universities around the nation, an already high- pressure, thin-stretched job has become even more difficult. Not being where students can find them and where they can work to identify at-risk students compounds their challenge. e number of students they are expected to support (virtually, no less) brings the challenge to a crest.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Career College Central - Career College Central - October 2020