New survey: An uptick in students’ mental health concerns and a downturn in college hopes

By August 17, 2021 News

A new survey from YouthTruth, a national nonprofit, reveals concerning impacts from the pandemic for American students. The survey, which queried more than 200,000 students in grades 3-12, found an uptick in mental health concerns and a downturn in college hopes.

About the survey

YouthTruth surveyed 153,475 students in grades 6-12 and 53,910 students in grades 3-5. Students attended 585 schools in 19 states. (North Carolina was not included.) Students submitted survey responses between January-May 2021.

Most students reported learning virtually in 2021.

  • 14% attended school in person.
  • 64% attended school virtually.
  • 20% attended school in a hybrid environment.

Key findings–mental health

A number of challenges have made learning difficult for students. Here are the top three:

  • 49% cited “feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious.”
  • 38% cited “distractions at home and family responsibilities.”
  • 27% cited “my health or the health of my family members.”

The percentage of students who report feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious has risen steadily, from 39% in Spring 2020 to 46% in Fall 2020 to 49% in Spring 2021. Students also perceive that adults at school are less accessible than they were before the pandemic.

Source: YouthTruth

Key findings–college hopes

More high school seniors say their plans are shifting as the pandemic continues.

  • In Spring 2020, 18% said their plans were changing.
  • A year later, in Spring 2021, 28% said their plans were changing.

Source: YouthTruth

What are seniors planning to do after graduation?

  • 48% said they planned to attend a four-year college, down from 52% before COVID.
  • 20% said they planned to attend a two-year college.
  • 8% said they planned to work full-time.
  • 10% said they were unsure.

Read a full report about the survey from the 74 here.