With nearly three-fourths of 18-29 year olds reporting they are feeling down, hopeless or depressed, California colleges are attempting to respond to the rising mental health needs of students during the coronavirus pandemic.

Isolation, with students confined to studying online, has heightened their sense of loss and hindered colleges’ ability to identify those needing help. California’s community colleges, which serve by far the largest number of college students in the state, feel the pressures most acutely because all their students live off-campus and many of them were already having to cope with financial and other challenges before the pandemic struck.

This week, EdSource reporter Larry Gordon, who recently wrote an in-depth article on the issue, tells us about what colleges are doing to meet the need, including stepping up outreach, offering free counseling sessions and being creative in fostering student connections.

Also, Humberto Hernandez, a psychologist at Cerritos College in Norwalk near Long Beach, explains how his college is expanding teletherapy to help students deal with financial, academic and life challenges. Camille Horrigan-Slajus, a psychology major at Santa Monica College, one of the state’s 116 community colleges, tells how Active Minds, a national organization that focuses on young people’s wellbeing, is encouraging students to seek services that are available. She is the president of the local chapter. 

Check out the following EdSource articles on student mental health: