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Crowdmark Launches Student Mental Health Support Section 

This week, Crowdmark launched a Student Mental Health Support section, a new feature designed to help support students in their mental health journeys. 

“In partnership with our university and college customers, we’ve made it possible to display university specific in-house mental health support resources in the student courses page in Crowdmark,” says Michelle Caers, Crowdmark’s CEO. “This feature is part of our ongoing commitment to support mental health efforts at our partner schools.” 

In the last thirty years, campus support for student mental health has come a long way. Once treated as a personal challenge that students faced in isolation, mental health is increasingly acknowledged as a significant factor in overall student wellness. 

Fostering mental health efforts has likewise become an increasingly important aspect of student life and campus community programs, and for government bodies seeking to support that work. In October 2022, EdSurge published an article detailing the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to fund this important work, including two grants programs backed with $280 million in funding “to help young people access mental health care.”  

“Even when there are supports available to students, like a student wellness center or extra help, it’s hard for students to find those and navigate them, not because there’s no information, but almost there’s just way too much information. The students who are already feeling like they don’t belong or they’re feeling a bit frozen are not able to seek out the resources they need because the volume of information is way too much.” – Dr. Lindsey Daniels, University of British Columbia

But as Zara Abrams notes in “Student Mental Health is in crisis. Campuses are rethinking their approach,” published on the American Psychology Association’s website, mental health is increasingly under siege. 

In her article, Abrmas interviews Michael Gerard Mason, who is an associate dean of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia and a college counselor. Mason observes that “Counseling centers have seen  extraordinary increases in demand over the past decade,” with staffing positions swelling to match. “Our counseling staff has almost tripled in size,” he tells Abrams, “But even if we continue hiring, I don’t think we could ever staff our way out of this challenge.” 

The pandemic lockdowns were a significant contributing factor to the mental health challenges facing students. In a research snapshot published in Cureus in 2020, the authors cite the shift to online formats, changing assessment methods, travel restrictions and the pandemic’s wide impact on “health, safety, family well-being, career prospects and the global recession” as overall contributing factors to increased mental health needs.   

In addition to staffing increases, other popular campus-led responses include: 

  • Adding more mental health education efforts and making screenings more accessible 
  • Making counseling services more accessible, especially for remote students 
  • Offering peer-support programs
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles, safe and inclusive environments and community-building activities

Student mental health, and technology’s role in supporting it, is also a major consideration at Crowdmark. 

“Whenever our team considers a change to the student workflow in our grading solution, the downstream impact on students and their mental health is part of the discussion,” says Michelle Caers, Crowdmark’s CEO. “There’s anxiety with all grades and feedback. Students may feel pressure to perform, especially if they intend to apply to post-secondary degree or professionalization programs where grades play a large part in the application process.” 

The shift to online systems and digital feedback means that course work can follow students throughout their day, without equal opportunities for collaboration and connection. 

“If students are having fewer face-to-face interactions in the run of a week than they did when learning was always done in a traditional classroom setting, that experience may contribute to feelings of social isolation. We think deeply and often about our technology’s role in that ecosystem,” says Caers.      

For university or college partners participating in the Student Mental Health section rollout, students logging in to check grades, submit work, or receive feedback will also see a phone number or website link for the institution’s mental health supports on their courses page.

“The pressure students can feel to excel is real, and unanticipated feedback and grades can make anyone feel overwhelmed or upset,” says Caers. “We want to make it easier for students to access the help they need by making contact information accessible within the platform. Our hope is that by taking away the ‘look it up’ step, we’ll help more students get the support and care they need.” 

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About Crowdmark

Crowdmark is the world’s premiere online grading and analytics platform, allowing educators to evaluate student assessments more effectively and securely than ever before. On average, educators experience up to a 75% productivity gain, providing students with prompt and formative feedback. This significantly enriches the learning and teaching experience for students and educators by transforming assessment into a dialogue for improvement.