College Students More Likely to Seek Peer Counseling Due to Pandemic, Study Finds

By  - 

More than half of college students nationwide are more likely to seek peer counseling due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, according to a recent national survey.

Peer Counseling in College Mental Health is the first-ever study to focus on college students and peer counseling. The survey, which included responses from more than 2,000 undergraduates, was conducted by the Born This Way Foundation, the Mary Christie Institute, and the MassINC Polling Group.

Two-thirds, or 67 percent, of surveyed students say they have faced mental or emotional issues throughout 2020 and 2021, according to the data.

The survey also found that one in five college students already uses peer counseling, and 62 percent of those who do not are interested in starting.

The data shows that student mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have seen year-over-year increases due to the “triple pandemic of COVID-19, the deepening of vast social inequities, and widespread economic insecurity.” 

Black, transgender, and first-generation college students using these services are particularly likely to say it is “very important” to find a peer counselor with similar identities or life experiences as them. Fortunately, more than 80 percent of students who have peer counseling at their school say it is “able to serve students of various backgrounds and identities.” 

Overall, nearly 60 percent of students who use the service call it beneficial.