College student mental health—and how campuses are responding—is increasingly in the national spotlight. Headlines in newspapers across the country are reporting that a mental health crisis exists at U.S. colleges and universities, and that it is worsening. Campuses and their counseling centers are seeing increased, unmet demand from students.

National assessment data show rising levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidality—suicidal ideation (serious thoughts about taking one’s own life), suicide plans, and suicide attempts—among the college population. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

Related content: 4 student mental health apps

As with a host of other complex and urgent issues facing higher education institutions in 2019, institutional leadership on student mental health and well-being matters greatly. To better understand how college and university presidents are navigating this challenge, ACE conducted its third Pulse Point survey at the end of April. Over 400 presidents responded.

Here’s what we found.

About the Author:

Hollie M. Chessman is a research fellow at ACE. She is responsible for building out ACE’s portfolio of work on what college and university leaders need to know about student mental health and well-being.

Morgan Taylor is a senior research analyst at ACE. In her role, Taylor manages research projects and analyzes quantitative and qualitative data on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; minority serving institutions; and institutional leadership.