Campus-wide mental health survey returns to gather new data

Healthy Minds Survey currently open to all students, employees closes Friday.
Campus-wide mental health survey returns to gather new data

The WellBeing Department is currently distributing the Healthy Minds Survey to all NMU students, as well as faculty and staff. The survey opened on Oct. 23, 2023, and will close this Friday, Nov. 17. 

The Healthy Minds Survey is a national survey created by the University of Michigan to gather data on students’ mental health from universities and colleges across the country.

“It really is to understand how students are doing and then how we are doing and supporting students from that perspective about their wellbeing, their sense of belonging and their mental health,” said Abigail Wyche, the Assistant Vice President of WellBeing

This is the third time this survey has been done at Northern, with the previous two being in 2017 and 2021. The last survey was sent out in the spring of 2021, so the COVID-19 pandemic may have had some effects on the data results.

Story continues below advertisement

“I cannot predict, but I suspect that there were folks feeling … pretty isolated, experiencing depression and anxiety,” Wyche said. “Thankfully, because we had a pretty high response rate of about 20%, we got the message that folks were having those experiences at that time.”

For students, the current response rate this year is about 17.6%. 

This is also the first time faculty and staff have been allowed to participate in this survey. Currently, the response rate from faculty and staff is around 46%.

“I think because it is the first time [Northern employees] have been surveyed, they were excited, I think, about being able to offer their perspective and their input on how things are going,” Wyche said. 

The results from this survey, from both students and faculty and staff, will allow the WellBeing Center to appropriately adjust the services they offer. 

From the last report, for example, the data showed that 97% of NMU students would not think less of someone for receiving support for mental health. However, nearly half of NMU students are also afraid that others will not understand when they receive mental health support. 

“This [data] tells us that there is this stigma, somewhat internalized stigma, about seeking mental health support,” Wyche said. “So that feedback is one thing that helped, and we have also been trying to talk about wellbeing and trying to normalize the experience.”

In addition to this, Wyche explained some of the other things that the WellBeing Department has been doing.

“We have done some training with employees that is encouraging them to be aware, to notice when folks may be in distress,” Wyche said. “And then [to be] willing to have conversations, ask tough questions and then help connect students to the resources that they might need in that circumstance.” 

Wyche also explained how the new WellBeing Center is now physically more accessible for students on campus. This new center is home to both medical and mental health support services.

“We want folks to think about the idea of seeking help for their mental health, very similar to the way they seek help when they have a medical issue,” Wyche said. 

The data from this survey will be sent to the University of Michigan, where they will process the raw data and send the results to Northern’s WellBeing Department. Northern’s results will also be combined with the national data from this survey.

More to Discover