Not All College Students Feel Merry and Bright About Winter Break, Survey Finds


FORT WORTH, Texas. – “There’s no place like home for the holidays” rings true for 8 in 10 college students who say being home for winter break will have a positive impact on their mental health.

At the same time, they report feeling both supported by and stressed out by their families. Regardless, what is abundantly clear is the need for a break – and it can’t come soon enough. 

A majority (78%) of the more than 1,200 college students polled in a nationwide survey by TimelyMD, the leading virtual health and well-being provider in higher education, say they are currently experiencing the same or a higher level of stress and anxiety as this time last year, with 6 in 10 students having taken at least one mental health or wellness day this semester. 

Additional highlights of the survey include: 

  • It’s not “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone – While some students welcome the familiar surroundings of home, family and childhood friends, others find them triggering. For example, students who identify as LGBTQIA+ report feeling slightly more stressed about going home for the holidays (60%), compared to 51% of students overall. Non-binary students (91%) are significantly more stressed about going home than their female (55%) and male (44%) peers.
  • Mixed emotions: Half of students are most stressed about family – In general, students are evenly split about whether they feel stressed or anxious about winter break (51%) or not (49%). Their three greatest sources of holiday stress are family (49%), travel (41%) and finances (38%). 
  • Forget presents. Students are opening up about their mental health – About two-thirds (66%) of students say their family is aware that they are experiencing mental health issues, with an overwhelming majority (84%) reporting that their family is supportive of them seeking professional mental health support. Be it with the support of a professional or a peer, finding ways to deal with stress and anxiety is important; however, it is increasingly evident that students lean on each other in their time of need. Friends (63%), family (51%) and screen time (38%) are the top three ways students plan to cope with stress and anxiety this holiday season.

“Mental health issues don’t take a winter break, but time off presents a great opportunity to recharge, relax and reconnect with people you care about,” said Seli Fakorzi, Director of Mental Health Operations at TimelyMD. “My advice? Give yourself the gift of taking care of you this holiday season. Whether that includes self-care, peer support and/or professional counseling, a mental health reset now can help you enter the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.”

Whether the holidays are a source of joy or stress, students never need to feel alone when 24/7 support is available to them. TimelyMD is trusted to serve more than 1.5 million students at nearly 250 colleges and universities with an all-in-one, integrated solution that delivers on-demand, equitable access to care, wherever students are. The TimelyCare platform serves as a virtual extension of campus health and counseling center resources, expanding campus services with the goal of improving student well-being, engagement, and retention. 

About TimelyMD

TimelyMD is the leading virtual health and well-being solution for higher education. Its mission is to improve the well-being of college students by making virtual medical and mental health care accessible anytime, anywhere. TimelyMD’s virtual care platform, TimelyCare, includes a range of services, including mental health counseling, on-demand emotional support, peer support, medical care, psychiatric care, health coaching, basic needs assistance, faculty and staff guidance, and digital self-care content. Visit timely.md to learn how TimelyMD is inspiring the digital transformation of campus health and the future of student care.

eCampus News Staff

"(Required)" indicates required fields