During this time, many college communities are faced with challenges and uncertainty. Academic schedules have been disrupted and students, faculty, and staff have had to adapt to different forms of distance learning and working. In times of emotional distress, many students report that they would reach out to campus professionals such as professors (24%) and academic advisors (23%) (Healthy Minds Study, 2019). Below are some recommendations for supporting your students and campus community during this period of remote learning:

  • JED’s You Can Help Trainings for college professionals assist with identifying and supporting those who may be struggling with a mental health challenge. Accompanying each of these presentations are discussion guides as well as assessment tools to measure learning outcomes.
  • As part of JED’s Love is Louder project, we’ve created the Love is Louder Action Center to provide resources and tips for taking care of physical and mental health, and supporting each other during this time of uncertainty.
  • Seize The Awkward tips and resources around maintaining mental health during the coronavirus and connecting with friends and family.
  • JED POV on Mental Health Services
  • JED webinar for faculty on Managing Stress During Distance Learning.
  • Mental Health, Higher Education, and COVID-19: Strategies for Leaders to Support Campus Well-Being
  • Communications should be clear, simple and direct while acknowledging how challenging this period is for students, their families, faculty and staff. Emphasize to students that they are not alone; this is a new context for all of us. See an example from JED Campus school Colorado College here. School websites should be frequently updated with relevant information. 
  • Make clear the health care resources that are available for students who are in need of services at this time.
  • Give suggestions to students for finding needed resources–e.g. food, shelter, safety. Some campuses have food banks or may be setting them up for students who live around campus and have lost employment. Also have contacts and resources ready for students who are concerned about loans or employment, and career guidance for those graduating.
  • Establish a line of communication for parents/guardians and students who may have questions/concerns. For example, if students have difficulty connecting to one of their classes, who do they contact and is there help available?
  • Keep doing whatever is possible to facilitate ongoing mental health services via Zoom meetings, phone appointments, etc. Make it clear how virtual visits will be organized. Provide referral contacts to your institutions adapted mental health resources if needed.
  • Recognize that some students who are already struggling with significant mental health problems may be at higher risk with the upheaval of their normal life and that the majority of students will feel some heightened amounts of anxiety and depression. Regular check ins with students can help them know there is support for them and remind them of the resources available for their use.
  • Keep in mind that this transition can also be hard on staff/faculty and make sure to check in with them regularly as well as provide resources on caring for the caregivers.
  • For the latest updates on protecting mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Tips and Updates page.

Additional outside resources