Friday, December 2, 2022

Student Survey to Improve Health and Well-Being at Ole Miss

University of Mississippi students have an opportunity to contribute to the university’s future mental health strategic plan by responding to an anonymous survey this month.

Roughly half the Ole Miss student population will receive an anonymous survey, the Healthy Minds Study, this week. The results of the study will provide data that will allow Student Affairs administrators to better understand student mental health, substance use and suicide prevention needs.

The Healthy Minds Study is a part of a larger JED Campus program. The program and participating universities and colleges are committed to assessing and enhancing mental health, substance use and suicide prevention policies, programs and systems.

“Surveys are an opportunity for individual voices to be heard, and this one is particularly important because of all the things happening in our world,” said Monica Coleman, a doctoral student in counselor education and member of the JED Campus Committee. 

“We know mental health is more important than ever. And student voices are particularly important because we are the very people that make this institution possible.”

The 25-minute survey will be emailed randomly to about half the student population on Monday (Feb. 8), and recipients will have until March 5 to complete it. The Healthy Minds Study will come from the University of Michigan, where it is administered.

Survey results will be compared with national best practices and with an assessment of UM’s current mental health policies, programs and systems. The data will ultimately influence the development and implementation of the university’s mental health strategic plan.

“It just takes 25 minutes to make our community a better place,” said Kate Forster, director of advocacy in the Division of Student Affairs. “It highlights, to me, a commitment to student wellness that’s exciting. We’ve always been committed to student wellness, but this is a tangible step to improve our campus.”

Coleman has also been a part of recent efforts to gather student input as it concerns diversity, equity and community engagement on campus. She said the Healthy Minds Study is the next logical step in the university’s commitment to making campus a better place for all students.

Forster reiterated the importance of student participation, saying there is a big difference between generalized data and understanding the individualized needs of the students on campus.

“We know we have a campus with great mental health resources, but finding a way for students to provide feedback on our resources can be a challenge,” Forster said. “This is an opportunity to provide data to us that helps us better understand our unique story – and that’s important.”

Once the survey data is collected, findings will be shared with the larger university community and recommendations will be made by the JED Campus community.

By JB Clark