Pandemic Tests The Fragile College Mental Health System
This spring, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted campus life for college students across California, UC San Diego sophomore Kayla Monnette had trouble sleeping at night.
The stress of moving to online classes, figuring out how to safely buy food during quarantine, and worrying about the well-being of her immunocompromised family manifested in what Monnette described as persistent anxiety. Not knowing how many students on campus might have contracted coronavirus, she said, added to her fears that she could become infected.
The pandemic has increased the mental strain on a generation of college students already reporting record levels of psychological challenges, state and national surveys show. California colleges have responded by moving therapy appointments online and using state grants to add services. But some mental health advocates say the coronavirus crisis highlights the fragility of a system that even before the pandemic was not doing enough to meet students’ needs.