Mental health resources for students during COVID-19


Iowa State has a student health and wellness unit made up of Student Counseling Services, Student Wellness, Thielen Student Health Center and Recreation Services. The unit offers many resources for improving mental health, ranging from weekly groups to suggested wellness apps.

Kylee Haueter

Moving into college, even without the stress from a global pandemic, can be a difficult adjustment for many students. Iowa State has many resources that students can utilize during this time of uncertainty.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the percentage of young adults showing symptoms of anxiety disorder has increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Young adults, specifically students, have been affected by the pandemic in many different ways. Across the United States, students were forced to cut their spring semesters short to return home. This affected students’ jobs, grades, scholarships and social lives.

While Iowa State students are able to return to campus this semester, they still have to make changes to their typical lives, especially from a social standpoint.

Students have also directly felt the repercussions of COVID-19 by being sick themselves or seeing family and friends struggle with the illness. Some students have even had to make major financial changes because of themselves or a parent losing their job.

Brian Vanderheyden, director of student wellness, listed some options for students who may feel like they are struggling. 

“Student Assistance in the Dean of Students office is a great resource for students who are struggling to navigate the various challenges that come with COVID-19,” Vanderheyden said. “Student Assistance can help students connect to resources both on and off campus for support.”

Vanderheyden also said another great resource for students is Student Counseling Services (SCS). 

Because of COVID-19, SCS will also be offering many telehealth options to make mental health aid easily accessible to all students, including those that may not feel comfortable leaving their homes or those that are taking classes from a remote location. 

Vanderheyden also referenced a PDF from SCS that breaks down the process into four steps. 

The first step is to call the SCS main line at 515-294-5056 to get set up. They will ask some questions and send an email to the student with a few brief surveys to complete.  

Students will then meet with a provider via video call and set up a support plan. This plan will set students up with the necessary services, all of which are free. 

While in-person meetings are being limited due to COVID-19, there are options available to be discussed for students that feel they are in crisis. 

Vanderheyden also spoke about a new service that SCS has implemented to help students practice good mental health habits.

The service is called Therapy Assistance Online. According to the website, it is “an evidence-based online library of engaging, interactive programs that address mental health challenges and life stressors.”

“It’s a platform to help people with their mental health and includes various mindfulness exercises, educational modules, assessments and more,” Vanderheyden said. “It’s a great new resource for students to proactively work on their mental health and well-being.”

There are also many resources outside of Iowa State for students that may be struggling with their mental health. More resources can be found on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website.  

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, please call 911.