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Mental Health Challenges Loom For College Students This Fall

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Colleges are welcoming students back this month, but many of them won’t be enjoying the same learning experiences they used to. 

Remote learning can mean a loss of community and independence for students, while going to reopened campuses means dealing with a lot of uncertainty. Some, like the University of North Carolina, reopened and shut down within weeks after clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Erin VanLuven, a clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente in Maryland, said these experiences can be detrimental to students’ mental health. 

“We do best when we have a routine,” she said. “Not having that through the pandemic and COVID-19 lead to increased stress, increased anxiety.” 

VanLuven says universities should provide accessible mental health resources and encourages parents to check in with their kids. 

“I hear time and time again it's those things that can actually save someone's life,” she said. 

Last week the University of Maryland, College Park delayed in-person classes till September.

 

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.