BORSC Interim 2021 Presentation: Mental Health

Our interim presentation to the board aimed to capture the situation on campus regarding mental health. We both displayed the ways in which a successful adaption to the pandemic had taken place, what the status quo is, and shared recommendations based on the input we received.

Below, you will find the presentation slides along with some additional notes on their contents (some were added again for accessibility).



  • 88.8% of college students are experiencing stress or anxiety as a result of COVID-19

  • 1 in 4 respondents aged 18-24 reported having seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days

  • The prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms in college students were three to four times higher in 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 has negatively impacted students’ mental health, motivation/focus, loneliness or isolation, academics, and missed experiences or opportunities.


  • Your living arrangements on campus (N=1,216) – 86.1% are generally to very satisfied

  • Access to services to improve your physical health (fitness facilities, health centers, etc.)

  • (N=1,224) – 23.5% are generally to very dissatisfied

  • Access to mental health services (N=1,143) – 31.5% are generally to very dissatisfied

  • 32% of St. Olaf students were “generally” or “very satisfied”, compared to 45% of students at other institutions


  • Out of 356 students that used Boe counseling services in Fall 2020, almost 50% were new clients (175 vs 181 returning)

  • Key issues: Anxiety/depression/stress/grief/loneliness → pandemic concerns and racial and environmental justice issues

  • 578 students are registered with disability that needs accomodation (~20%), last year 557, steady increase throughout the years

  • Way more people request emotional support animals – anxiety, loneliness, etc

  • Hardships during isolation/quarantine periods

  • Engagement has been low – fatigue -> what can staff and student leaders do about that? -> those who are engaging find it meaningful, can create community

  • Family conflict as new issue

  • dealing with death

  • “students are existing in multiple places with their worry”

  • multiple levels for e.g. bipoc and LGBTQ students

  • International students: unable to go home

  • stress for students who are multilingual and have to help understand what to do, receptiveness to the vaccine, based on for instance medical trauma


  • Now greater understanding of why accomodations are necessary, receptiveness

  • during the pandemic, many accomodations were no longer needed to be used

  • Many more ways to attend classes, take tests

  • long winter break as source of rest

  • Boe house only online; in state. Privacy concerns for students at home or with roommates

  • taylor center, wellness center offering one on one’s

  • now, the new situation is more familia