Over the past 25 years, as an educator and scientist, Dr. Mahtab Jafari’s goal has been to inspire her students, family, friends and my community to live healthy lives. Jafari truly believes that scientific work should not stop in the lab and only appear in scientific publications. As a scientist and a professor in the largest public university system in the world, University of California, Jafari feels responsible to share the facts and to separate them from the hype.
Student Stress and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic’s toll on mental health has especially impacted students, particularly those who have financial and practical barriers to receive mental health treatment, such as low-income students.
A team of researchers at UCI conducted a survey study on about 600 students from UCI and UCLA. What we learned from this work can help us to only be more prepared should another epidemic or pandemic take place but to also help our students now.
We learned that the pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of 87 percent of our students.
We learned that students want to be involved in decision making processes that would directly impact their lives. They want university administrators to include them in conversations and dialogues so that they can be active agents in the development of ideas and solutions.
We cannot agree more! The most efficient way to learn about our students’ needs is to get them involved in making decisions that impact them by communicating with them and not to them.
Our students also stressed the intersection of mental health, financial support, and academics and the various ways in which these needs overlap to create and exacerbate hardships.
Following the survey and study results, we found that academic institutions should look to develop technology, programs, and services to address the poor mental health pandemic.