Across the Finish Line: Student Mental Health and College Completion
Concerns around college students’ mental health have been percolating for years, but multiple researchers have found that the pandemic has exacerbated issues contributing to student wellbeing, causing a secondary epidemic on campuses nationwide. Mental health is quickly becoming a leading cause of declining retention and completion rates—especially if schools aren’t equipped with adequate mental health services.
On Friday, January 13th, Third Way hosted the next installment of our Across the Finish Line event series and were joined by Dr. Zainab Okolo, LMFT (Strategy Officer, Lumina Foundation), Dr. Jihad Aziz (Executive Director, University Counseling Services, Virginia Commonwealth University), Erica Coates, LCSW (Assistant Director of Partnership Initiatives, Virginia Tech), and John MacPhee (CEO, The Jed Foundation). Dr. Okolo offered remarks laying the foundation of the crisis and what the research shows. We then turned to Dr. Aziz, Erica Coates, and John MacPhee who shared the on-the-ground-impact mental health challenges are having and what schools are doing to intervene. Our experts were clear: now is the time for our institutions and the federal government to address the issue through funding and evidence-based interventions to ensure students get across the finish line.