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Improving Well-Being in College Students

Improving Well-Being in College Students

$10,000 Challenge Gift Campaign

Student mental health and well-being is increasingly in the spotlight, both nationally and internationally. In 2018, the World Health Organization concluded a study of 14,000 first-year college students from eight countries and reported that 1 in 3 college freshmen struggle with mental health disorders led by depression and anxiety. According to the U.S. Healthy Minds Study 2018-2019, 36 percent of students have major or moderate depression and “overwhelmed students are seeking help, overwhelming their colleges.” 

In response to this crisis and student need, the Center for Healthy Minds launched a novel, semester-long three-credit course, The Art and Science of Human Flourishing (ASHF). Pilots of the course, with integration of the Healthy Minds Program mobile app, show great promise for cultivating lifelong skills necessary to flourish.

Preliminary analysis of the data is encouraging and suggests that students in the class made significant improvements compared to students who did not take the class on measures of anxiety, attention regulation, empathy, resilience, self-compassion and compassion towards their roommates, among other measures.

As the need for college students to access tools to help with anxiety, depression and loneliness has increased with COVID-19, so has the urgency to develop our online educational resources.

To date, 230 students have benefited from this course at UW–Madison, and our vision includes many thousands of students benefiting in the future.

Your support today will allow us to…

  • Develop high-quality and engaging online course materials, in modular formats that could easily be integrated into other courses and co-curricular activities.
  • Cover costs to create 10 well-being sessions tailored to and led by college students from diverse backgrounds that would be added to the Healthy Minds Program app, which is provided to students in the course.
  • Develop an in-person Teaching Academy, an online teaching toolkit, an e-textbook and best practices to be shared broadly with other universities nationally and internationally. Currently, demand for the course exceeds capacity. Funding for an additional Teaching Assistant and to develop online materials would help address this capacity issue.

Your gift will help students explore what it means to flourish and acquire the knowledge and skills that can help them achieve greater well-being.

And, your donation today will be doubled! Thanks to a generous match from a fellow UW–Madison alumni donor, every contribution will be matched up to $5,000 to raise a total of $10,000 to expand college student access to this course.


Join the $10,000 match challenge

“This class has a major effect on everything that I’m a part of. Having the space, having this class, absolutely reduces stress.”

-Asher Bernick-Roehr, former student