Landmark Study Confirms Active Minds Has a Significant Impact on Student Mental Health and Well-Being

Research from a landmark study by the RAND Corporation confirms what we’ve always found to be true — that Active Minds has a significant, positive impact on student health and well-being by creating a supportive climate for mental health on college campuses.

The results of the longitudinal study of more than 1,100 students at 12 colleges is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (July 2018) in an article titled “Strengthening College Students’ Mental Health Knowledge, Awareness, and Helping Behaviors: The Impact of Active Minds, a Peer Mental Health Organization.”

Below are four exciting highlights from the research confirming that Active Minds’ model for mental health education and suicide prevention is one that works.

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Highlights from the research

  1. As students become more involved with Active Minds, they are more likely to reach out to a classmate or friend who is struggling with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.
  2. Among the general student body, knowledge and positive attitudes about mental health increases as a result of an Active Minds presence, creating a more supportive campus climate and increasing the potential that students in distress will seek mental health services.
  3. Active Minds’ education programs meaningfully influence not only students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental health issues, but also their behaviors.
  4. The impact is swift — knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors examined in the study positively changed within a single academic year.

This groundbreaking research underscores how Active Minds — pioneered 20 years ago and now with a presence on more than 650 campuses — is a path forward for improving student mental health. Our focus on empowering students to drive change among their peers leads to more students receiving potentially lifesaving help for issues that could otherwise have serious, lasting, and sometimes tragic consequences.

What does this mean for you?

Now more than ever we need to ensure every student has the opportunity to benefit from Active Minds. Recent studies estimate that up to 36% of college students are dealing with some form of serious mental health issue, yet only about a third receive crucial treatment or support.

With the results of the RAND research confirming the effectiveness of our approach, we feel a strong obligation to give as many students as possible — as soon as possible — access to Active Minds’ uniquely effective, peer-to-peer model.

You can support our mission to make sure every student knows that mental illness is treatable, suicide is preventable, and help is available. Check out our ideas for ways to get involved.

If you’re affiliated with a high school or college, here are two suggestions for how to bring Active Minds to your campus:

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