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National College Health Assessment 2021

The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment gathers data on key health issues that impact college students and campus communities. UW–Madison previously participated in this survey in 2015 and 2018, and has volunteered to participate again in 2021.

In 2021, UW-Madison is inviting all students of color to participate in this survey, in order to ensure their voices are being heard.

Responses from students will help guide the improvement and equity of policies, programs, and services that promote health and well-being at UW–Madison. Results from past surveys have led to an increase in mental health services, implementation of cultural competency trainings, and more.

WHO

12,611 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students were selected, approximately one-quarter of the UW-Madison student population and includes all students of color on campus. 

Responses are confidential and participation is voluntary.

WHEN

Selected students will be invited to participate via email on Monday, March 15. The survey is open March 15 through March 29.

The earlier students complete the survey, the more opportunities they will have to win prizes.

WHAT

This survey contains questions about student health behaviors, perceptions, and experiences. It also assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being.

The survey will take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

After completing the survey, students will have the option to enter to be eligible for more than $2,500 worth of prizes including two $200 cash prizes in the first week. The first 250 participants will receive $10 on their Wiscard.

2015 & 2018

UW-Madison student participation in previous NCHA survey’s led to the development and implementation of many key programs and initiatives that support health and well-being including:

  • SilverCloud, a 24/7 digital mental health care platform – implemented in response to data showing rising mental health need
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline contact information is on all Wiscards
  • Cultural competency training was implemented in response to data showing higher rates of mental symptoms reported by students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and other marginalized groups; and other data showing that one barrier to help-seeking among these groups is not feeling their unique circumstances and identities are represented and/or understood.
  • UW System President Thompson proposed $10M in new funding for behavioral health in the 2021-2023 budget proposal that is currently being considered by the state legislature—the largest portion is focused on increasing counseling and psychiatry staffing, and diversifying staffing, based on the trends noted in NCHA survey data and campus health and counseling centers.
  • Student Behavioral Health Coordinator position was established to coordinate initiatives and future system-level efforts, and to continue to assess progress and make recommendations to meet future needs.

FAQ

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Who takes the survey?

Approximately one in four UW-Madison students will be invited to participate. This sample also includes all students of color.

Who is invited?

12,611 students were selected. This is approximately one-quarter of UW-Madison students and includes all students of color on campus.

  • 7011 students of color
  • 4315 white, non-Hispanic students
  • 892 international students
  • 393 students unknown race/ethnicity

In past NCHA surveys (2015 and 2018), we randomly selected participants from the whole campus. In doing so, we did not invite enough students of color to participate in a way that allowed us to adequately represent their experiences in the survey results. This year, we would like to change this, and are intentionally inviting all students of color to participate.

Why take the survey?

The goal of this survey is to understand the needs of UW-Madison students to better tailor programs, policies, and services at University Health Services and at UW-Madison to improve the health and well-being of our students.

Why me and what is this about?

We want to hear from you to meet your needs. In order to do that, we want to understand what you need from us and from our services in order to live a full, healthy life and feel supported during your time at UW-Madison.

What will I be asked to do?

If you choose to participate, you will be asked a variety of questions about your health, your health behaviors, your health perceptions, and your experiences on and off-campus. You are encouraged to skip any questions you do not feel comfortable answering.

Am I required to participate?

You do not have to participate in this survey. If you do participate, you may skip any question(s) you are not comfortable answering and may exit the survey at any time.

Who is administering the survey?

The survey is sponsored by the UW System and is being sent by the American College Health Association.

Why are you asking about these sensitive topics?

Our goal is to foster a safe and supportive environment where students can flourish, both academically and personally. To understand the health and well-being climate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we need to ask direct questions about some sensitive topics. It is only by directly collecting this information from you that we will be able to prevent negative experiences and effectively respond when they do happen. However, we encourage you to skip any question or portion of the survey that you do not feel comfortable answering.

How long will the survey take?

The survey takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete.