Recognizing Differences in Women’s Mental Health
As we celebrate women and girls on this International Women’s Day, it is important to talk about mental health and the role it plays in the life of women, both individually and collectively, starting by acknowledging gender differences in mental health experiences and help-seeking behaviors. In MCI’s recent survey, The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young Professionals, young women were more likely to report fair or poor mental health, including financial stress and burnout, compared to men; and more likely to seek mental health support from their employers. This data adds to a body of research showing that females (including college students) tend to report worse mental wellbeing and more treatment than males, suggesting that gender should be an important consideration in supporting a person’s mental health. As this article indicates, more women than men experience major depression in their lifetimes; women have higher rates of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the article, the reasons for this are biological, social and psychological, including determinants of mental health such as access to resources, status, roles, options and treatments. The fact that women seek help for their mental health issues at higher rates than men shows that they prioritize these issues and recognize the value of interventions. This is an opportunity to improve the level and specificity of support that is provided.
The MCI Team
Mental and Behavioral Health
March is a trying time of year for thousands of high school seniors, who can expect to begin receiving college admissions decisions in the coming days and weeks. Of course, for young people struggling with their mental health at increasingly worrisome rates, the admissions process is often stressful from start to finish. According to The Los Angeles Times, students feel immense pressure as they confront an application process they say seems to expect perfection. Time will tell whether schools going standardized test-optional could help relieve the burden on applicants, as Higher Ed Dive reports that Columbia University has become the first Ivy League school to entirely abandon the requirement.
To counter the nationwide shortage of mental health providers, The Washington Post discusses how Mental Health First Aid training is allowing young people to support each other through emotional challenges.
The New York Times presents the responses of teens around the country to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing mental health challenges are at an all time high.
For Insider, a former college educator offers five things she wishes the parents of her students knew, among them the advice to prioritize their children’s mental health above all else.
After a TikTok drinking trend led to the hospitalizations of dozens of University of Massachusetts Amherst students, WBUR reveals the schools will be “adjusting” its alcohol education programs.
Inside Higher Ed highlights the importance of sleep for college students, including but not limited to supporting their mental health, and offers several ways schools can incentivize good habits.
Inside Higher Ed considers how universities can offer more effective, comprehensive on-campus care for students struggling with eating disorders who are not seeking inpatient care.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In response to programs—first medical and law, now undergraduate —withdrawing from its rankings, the U.S. News & World Report is finally ‘firing back,’ The New York Times reports. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere, leaders of the publication have accused schools that abandoned their list of hiding behind equity concerns when what they really want is to evade accountability measures. The Chronicle, too, questions whether the mass exodus has been genuine or performative in its purported service of low-income students. In Inside Higher Ed, however, former president of Colby College and Bucknell University, William D. Adams, encourages all undergraduate institutions to follow the example of his alma mater, Colorado College, and leave U.S. News behind.
Alumni publish an open letter in The Daily Princetonian, acknowledging the many pressures current students may be facing, encouraging them to seek help when needed and applauding their mental health advocacy.
In The Daily Tar Heel, Beth Mayer-Davis, Dean of The Graduate School, urges: “We have a moral obligation to our students as we strive to equip them with the tools they need in order to flourish at UNC.”
An op-ed in The Michigan Daily links the increasing number of college students using marijuana to the trend toward socializing in smaller groups and more limited social connectivity overall.
The Daily Texan covers a recent trip student government representatives from the University of Texas at Austin took to the Big 12 on the Hill Conference in Washington D.C., where they advocated to expand mental health resources.
The New York Times highlights the controversy at North Idaho College, a community college where conservative trustees concerned about liberal indoctrination in higher education are in serious conflict with faculty and staff. The tensions have gone so far, The Chronicle reveals, as to lead to the downgrading of the school’s credit rating due to “significant governance and management dysfunction.” At the same time, this situation is not entirely unique, as Inside Higher Ed reports a similarly partisan “tug-of-war” is ongoing between the Board of Governors and faculty within the University of North Carolina system. Some faculty, like Roskilde University’s Somdeep Sen for Al Jazeera, are decrying the increasing descent of universities into corporatism and injustice. Others, like one Princeton senior published in the The New York Times, are advising “puritanically progressive campuses” like his own to start welcoming more political diversity or risk breeding a “a new generation of conservative firebrands.”
In the Mary Christie Institute’s recent survey on “The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young Professionals,” more than a-third (39%) of recent graduates reported that their college “did not help them develop skills to prepare them for the emotional or behavioral impact of the transition to the workplace.” Inside Higher Ed covers how colleges can help students gain professional skills before graduation, including through alumni video networking like at Grinnell College, experiential learning like at New York University or opportunities to practice workplace-style writing.
Sexual Assault and Title IX
The Chronicle captures the conflict between universities and their insurance companies when it comes to paying settlements or legal fees in the aftermath of sexual misconduct lawsuits. Rather than get saddled with a sometimes multimillion-dollar bill, insurance companies have been adapting or abandoning higher education coverage, leaving schools to come up with alternative solutions.
As the Supreme Court continues to hear the cases for and against President Biden’s proposed debt relief program, The New York Times considers a theory that may pose the biggest threat to the plan: the “major questions doctrine,” whether Congress clearly authorized the executive branch to “take on” a significant economic or political issue. As many expect the Court to rule against Bident, The Washington Post points out that his loss would be another setback to “Biden’s racial equity push, an effort marked so far by modest successes and major setbacks.” To make matters more tense for the President, his efforts to continue the pause on student loan debt have now been met by a lawsuit from the private lender SoFi, The Post says.
“Is college worth it?” CNBC asks, noting that students are becoming more and more skeptical that the high cost of university tuition will pay off. In short, yes: Even as labor shortages open up some high-paying jobs that only require a high school diploma, research continues to suggest that Americans with a college degree will make significantly more money over their lifetimes.
In their effort to support nearly half the country’s undergraduates, community colleges request funding from reluctant legislators, made skeptical by historically poor student outcomes. At the heart of this dilemma over resources, The Hechinger Report suggests, may be a lack of information: “The problem is that no one really knows how much it costs to educate a community college student, or exactly how much more should be spent on the neediest ones.”
Around two weeks after the mass shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students, NPR finds the school is instituting new safety protocol, including restricting access to buildings and adding locks and cameras around campus. While administrators struggle to keep students safe, The New York Times says others are looking to profit off the tragedy, starting fraudulent fundraisers in the aftermath.
At MIT, amid concerns about international intellectual espionage, faculty are facing FBI briefings and new requirements that they attest to the legality of their work, GBH News reveals. Some experts expect these protocols to become the new norm at research universities around the country.
Inside Higher Ed explores how some universities, like cities and towns across the country, are considering or implementing alternatives to traditional policing. At the University of California, Riverside, unarmed campus safety responders have started replacing police officers to respond to minor infractions, while SWIFT (Student Well-being, Intervention and Follow-Through) counselors will report to mental health crises.