University of Wisconsin – Madison is participating in the Healthy Minds Study to better understand current students’ mental health and wellbeing. The survey, which was also administered at UW-Madison in 2019 and 2016, will provide a valuable snapshot of our campus climate and students’ experiences that will shape strategies, policies, programs, and services to better support student mental health. Half of all students are invited via email to take the survey now through May 2nd.
It is more important than ever that students complete the survey this year. Since our last participation, our campus has collectively experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging data already shows the serious mental toll the pandemic has taken on college students. The Healthy Minds Survey will localize our understanding of current UW-Madison student mental health needs, disparities, and perceptions of campus climate.
When our campus last participated in 2019, we learned that there are disparities in perception of campus climate for students with marginalized identities – including race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and students experiencing financial stress. Further, our 2019 findings showed an increase in mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Yet simultaneously, our campus also found an increase in the use of therapy from the prior survey in 2016.
Findings from the Healthy Minds Survey prompt changes to important programs and services for students. 2019 results showed that 31 percent of students screened positive for depression and 27 percent of students screened positive for anxiety. As a result, University Health Services (UHS) increased mental health staffing capacity to better meet the demand for services. The survey results also supported the development of new trainings for UW-Madison faculty, staff and students to recognize and intervene when students are in mental distress.
“The Healthy Minds Survey is critical to our understanding of student mental health needs on campus,” says Sarah Nolan, Director of Mental Health Services at UHS. “The University takes results from this survey seriously in assessing and improving the services we provide to students. We encourage all students who are invited to participate in the survey to take the time and fill it out.”
Students are invited to participate in the Healthy Minds Survey over email. The survey is open from April 3 through May 2. Results will be analyzed in the coming months and shared widely with campus.