Higher Education

Early Intervention Matters

A short video clip focused on how mental health challenges in students may develop over time, and how recognizing signs earlier makes a difference

Hear why recognizing changes in mood and behavior early can help students succeed.


Michael Gerard Mason:

So one of the things that I think faculty can do to be helpful to us, it start to become attuned to changes in mood early because by the time it becomes a mental health thing, it has already been developmentally something, right? So just checking in with students about how you feeling about this work, how you feeling about being here, and start to get a sense of if students are not feeling great and they don’t feel great over time, maybe that’s starting to be something rather than go through 5, 6, 7 professors, and now it’s entrenched and become something that needs to be in front of us.

So you don’t have to always think that you intervene at point of diagnostic criteria, but you can just do the developmental work of making sure that students feel good, feel engaged, feel seen because that’s going to ward off lots of things. That’ll cut off lots of things. So just think about that, that you can, we can, universities should be intervening much earlier.

Now, I think one of the difficulties that we all probably can acknowledge is that given, even prior to the pandemic, because of our efforts to make access to education equitable, we are now receiving more students who have long passed that developmental point. And I think that’s what’s tricky that we’re having students coming into universities who already have largely met diagnostic criteria for one of these things.

But in practice, if you can think about early responding to simple things like students are ambivalent about the content, students don’t look like they’re able to engage their peers, those things will start to help us identify the things that become the depression, the anxieties, the isolations much earlier than they actually become in the students.