New Report Helps Leaders Address Mental Health, Well-being of Students with Minoritized Identities
August 02, 2021

​​​As higher education institutions work to reestablish and redefine the post-pandemic higher education experience, a new report released by ACE in collaboration with Wake Forest University offers data and guidance for leaders to support the well-being of students with minoritized identities. The brief provides examples of strategies and frameworks to help create support systems tailored to the institution and the students it serves.

Colleges and universities have an important role to play in the support of student well-being, as students return to campus this fall with a new range of traumas and other challenges to their well-being. In particular, research outlined in the brief, “Well-being for Students With Minoritized Identities,” shows that students with historically marginalized racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation identities have substantially lower subjective well-being than other students without minoritized identities.  

According to the report, a comprehensive set of mental health and well-being assessments, such as the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment, the Healthy Minds Study, or the Wake Forest Wellbeing Assessment, can be administered before new resources and services are offered on campus as a way to understand the community’s baseline for health and well-being. Campuses can re-assess the mental health and well-being of their community after implementing the resources or services to measure their impact.

The report also provides examples and a brief overview of two frameworks that can help guide institutions in their efforts to address well-being: The Equity in Mental Health Framework, coauthored by The Steve Fund and the Jed Foundation; and the Okanagan Charter. These frameworks focus on embedding mental health and well-being into all aspects of campus culture and offer concrete recommendations to identify and promote the mental health and well-being of students as a campus-wide priority. “For colleges’ and universities’ well-being programs, policies, and practices to be effective, they must be developed through an intersectional lens, rather than through one of accommodation and inclusion; a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to fit anyone well,” the authors wrote.

The work for the data included in this paper was funded in part by Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina and was written by Nicole Brocato, Finn Luebber, Morgan Taylor, Ángel de Jesus Gonzalez, Hollie M. Chessman, and Yitong Zhao. Click here to read the full paper.