Op-ed: Students need more mental health support from colleges

More should be done by colleges to address student mental health, says Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health doctoral student Eric Coles.

In an October 5, 2018 op-ed for the Harvard Crimson, Coles, DrPH ’20—a member of the Harvard Chan Mental Health Student Alliance (MHSA)—highlighted recent studies showing that depression, stress, and thoughts of suicide are prevalent among college students. In one national survey of 65,000 college students, 20% reported suicidal ideation—thinking about, considering, or planning suicide. In a survey of University of California graduate students, 35% of 5,000 respondents said they had symptoms of clinical depression—much higher than the general population. And in a spring 2018 MHSA survey, 50% of Harvard Chan students reported poor to fair mental health.

Coles wrote that current efforts to address student mental health, both at Harvard Chan School and Harvard University, are promising, but more work is needed.

“Harvard should be a global leader in addressing student mental health, just as we are a global leader in academics,” he wrote.

Read the Harvard Crimson op-ed: The Mental Health Crisis on College Campuses