IT Teaching Resources

Student anxiety and depression increasing during school closures

A survey assessing new mental health challenges among California high school and college-aged students

Article Research

Title: Student Anxiety and Depression Increasing During School Closures
Author: Carolyn Jones

Key points

  • Over half of California students surveyed felt like they needed mental health resources that they were not receiving
  • Lack of privacy and students struggling with identities their families may not support are two reasons for soaring rates of negative mental health; As school districts and universities continue to face budget cuts (which will further cut into budgets for counselors and support staff), the ability for schools and universities to support students will get even weaker
  • Student mental health needs also differ from urban/suburban to rural areas; students from rural areas are struggling more with financial instability and having to put college or even high school plans on hold

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) survey asked students to grade their mental wellness before and after schools closed, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 indicating top mental health. Before the pandemic, 65% of students gave themselves a 7 or higher. After the pandemic, that percentage had dropped to less than 40%. Worse, the number of students who rated their mental health a 3 or lower more than tripled after the pandemic began, from 7.2% to 23%.

What would this look like in a course? 
  • Consider how students who may previously have had their mental health needs addressed may not be getting the care or support they need, which can negatively impact their academic performance. 
  • Recognize that lack of privacy in the home environment might impact a student’s willingness or ability to engage fully in breakout discussions where sensitive subjects or information might arise. Try to be mindful of your construction of discussion questions so as to avoid putting students in a compromised position. 

Jones, C. (2020, May 13). Student anxiety, depression increasing during school closures, survey finds. Retrieved August 31, 2020, from

Youth Liberty Squad, & ACLU of Southern California. (2020). Summary of Student Mental Health Survey Results. Retrieved August 31, 2020, from Wellness Survey Summary 5-08-20.pdf