About the Problem
The pandemic forced schools to go online, which shattered many in-person communities. Now, with the rise of hybrid classes (as we found 26/41 students participate in hybrid learning), we are seeing the continuation of isolation. This can be because of a lack of staff to student interaction, and a lack of student to student interaction. The effects on mental health due to the isolation has been detrimental to students, giving rise to feelings such as sadness, anxiety and stress.
As SI Leaders, we talk to students weekly, holding sessions based around building community with students, and get a unique perspective on students and how they feel about the community. Students have shared in session how much they value community, which led us to do further research the community at Chaffey. We found that aside from the big problems of schoolwork, work, and balance, isolation was the most common issue, with 24% of students experiencing it.
Those affected are students at Chaffey. Counselors here have reported an increase in students struggling with mental health and says staff has a hard time connecting students online. 14% of students here report having not enough contact with staff.
Mental health issues during the past few years have been increasing. This is true for all age demographics but college students are one of the most affected demographics. Students at Chaffey are beginning to report increased amounts of isolation.
Isolation is an issue that has been increasing since the global shutdown. In our survey, 63% of students reported they are hybrid students, and 42% are happy to be returning to in person courses. This information shows an ongoing disconnect.
Chaffey counselors reported higher behavioral intervention needs among students. Professors reported higher inquiries from students regarding personal needs instead of academic matters. In accord, our survey found over 46% of students feel stressed.
Chaffey faculty have reported the notable increase in mental health struggles due to isolation as a problem because of the way isolation has impacted student performance, and overall well being, such as students being more anxious and stressed.
Isolation and its effects impacts communities around the world. Boye, a counselor at Chaffey, is studying how international institutions are addressing mental health for students. Chaffey is experiencing a local iteration of a worldwide issue.
The stakeholders are everyone at Chaffey. Collective wellbeing is an essential component of a healthy community. Mental health issues due to isolation are experienced in campuses globally. Thus, all college communities have a hand on this issue.
We hope to assist Chaffey College in its mission to help students benefit from being part of the community and live a wholesome life while working to achieve their goals. We aim to achieve this through solutions that can help students with their mental health who have experienced isolation and are taking classing either online, hybrid, or in person. These solutions will all be backed by research and can either be gratuitous (such as sitting under a nice tree in the daytime), or help students become aware of helpful resources available at Chaffey College (such as College Wrap).