Friday Five – Mental Health During the Winter Break
Just in time for the holiday break, this week’s Friday Five highlights the key findings from a new survey assessing college students’ mental health.
“There’s no place like home for the holidays” rings true for 8 in 10 college students who say being home for winter break will have a positive impact on their mental health. At the same time, they report feeling both supported by and stressed out by their families. Regardless, what is abundantly clear is the need for a break – and it can’t come soon enough.
Here are the top 5 findings from a new TimelyMD nationwide survey of more than 1,200 U.S. college students.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
It’s not “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. A majority (78%) of college students say they are currently experiencing the same or a higher level of stress and anxiety as this time last year, with 6 in 10 students having taken at least one mental health or wellness day this semester.
Home for the Holidays
“Home for the holidays” is more stressful for some. While some students welcome the familiar surroundings of home, family and childhood friends, others find them triggering. For example, students who identify as LGBTQIA+ report feeling slightly more stressed about going home for the holidays (60%), compared to 51% of students overall. Non-binary students (91%) are significantly more stressed about going home than their female (55%) and male (44%) peers.
Three Kings of Stress
The three greatest sources of holiday stress for students are family (49%), travel (41%) and finances (38%).
Gifts of Love and Support
About two-thirds (66%) of students say their family is aware that they are experiencing mental health issues, with an overwhelming majority (84%) reporting that their family is supportive of them seeking professional mental health support.
Friends Help Make the Season Bright
Friends help to make the season bright. Be it with the support of a professional or a peer, finding ways to deal with stress and anxiety is important; however, it is increasingly evident that students lean on each other in their time of need. Friends (63%), family (51%) and screen time (38%) are the top three ways students plan to cope with stress and anxiety this holiday season.
“Mental health issues don’t take a winter break, but time off presents a great opportunity to recharge, relax and reconnect with people you care about,” said Seli Fakorzi, Director of Mental Health Operations at TimelyMD. “My advice? Give yourself the gift of taking care of you this holiday season. Whether that includes self-care, peer support and/or professional counseling, a mental health reset now can help you enter the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.”
More than 1,200 U.S. college students responded to the survey conducted online by TimelyMD, the leading virtual health and well-being solution for higher education. Its mission is to improve the well-being of college students by making virtual medical and mental health care accessible anytime, anywhere. TimelyMD’s virtual care platform, TimelyCare, includes a range of services, including mental health counseling, on-demand emotional support, peer support, medical care, psychiatric care, health coaching, basic needs assistance, faculty and staff guidance, and digital self-care content. Visit timely.md to learn how TimelyMD is inspiring the digital transformation of campus health and the future of student care.