During the year of COVID-19, the university community and the global community experienced heightened stress and a broad range of impacts to their well-being, the long-term mental health effects of which are difficult to predict.
As we prepare for a return to in-person learning at USC, we do know—from the 2020 Student Well-being Index Survey—that the experiences during pandemic varied greatly among students.
Overall, alcohol and other drugs decreased, as did sexual assault. Some students thrived in supportive environments at home, and some students experienced multiple layers of hardship, impacted by factors including:
- Illness and loss of family members
- Job loss and increased financial stress
- Racism, homophobia and transphobia and other forms of bias
- Isolation from support network of peers
- Duress from living in a stressful or non-supportive home environment
Providing space for students to acknowledge the impacts of the pandemic can help diffuse anxiety and manage stressors. A brief 10-minute “check-in” at the beginning of class may be a helpful way of addressing the topic, creating connection between classmates, understanding the collective experiences that are a reaction to hardship and loss, all while validating and normalizing mental health.
This guide is intended to help faculty and staff navigate this context as we return to in person interactions with students.
Download the “Resilience Through Challenges” Guide.