New Mental Health Survey at CCSU

Sophia Muce, News Editor

On Monday, students at Central Connecticut State University received an email announcing a campus-wide survey about student mental health.

In the email, Dr. John Tully, interim vice president of Student Affairs at CCSU, said that the purpose of the Healthy Minds Study is to “better understand student mental health and well-being, sources of support, and other mental and emotional health topics.”

Amelia Joss, an undergraduate research assistant and member of the communications team, said that Healthy Minds Network has worked with over 400 schools around the United States, including others from Connecticut, such as Southern Connecticut State University.

“We provide data to higher-education institutions to further inform their mental health policies for students,” Joss said. “We hope that this information can be used to strengthen grant applications, evaluate and advocate for existing mental health programs, and raise awareness for mental health issues on campus.”

The Healthy Minds Study from 2021 found that 41% of students had depression overall, 34% had an anxiety disorder, 13% had suicidal ideation in the past year, and 12% reported an eating disorder.

Joss said the Healthy Minds Study was launched in 2007. Its principal investigators are faculty at Boston University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan.

Joss said that she is not directly involved in school recruitment, but CCSU is a part of the Jed Foundation’s partnership with Healthy Minds Study. She told the Jed Foundations often facilitate their connection with potential schools.

According to the Healthy Minds Network’s website, the study is confidential, not anonymous. “A confidential survey requires some confidence in the study team to maintain the privacy of respondents’ identifying information,” the site said. “This differs from an anonymous survey, which has no respondent identifiers.” 

The website said that Healthy Minds Network ensures confidentiality for students by storing their responses in a file that is separate from their name and email address, making sure that any reports on the responses will describe students’ answers altogether rather than separate, and universities like CCSU that participate in the survey receive a “de-identified data set” with no access to individual data.

According to the website, students can provide feedback using an anonymous form. The form is provided by Google and says that the user’s email is “not shared.”

Tully’s email said that participants are entered into sweepstakes conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health for one of two $500 prizes or one of 10 $100 prizes and are eligible for a random drawing for Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards at CCSU.

A 2014 study by the Department of Telecommunication at Michigan State University found that sweepstake drawings announced via email are “somewhat effective” compared to no incentives but do not ensure the desired responses.

After Tully told students about the sweepstakes and provided them with a link to the study, he said that the survey’s success “depends on gathering the diverse perspectives of all types of students,” and their participation is “key.”