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Healthy Minds Study

The Healthy Minds Study (HMS) is an annual, national survey that examines mental health is­sues among college students. The Healthy Minds study was administered at Southern Connecticut State University and 26 other colleges and universities throughout the United States in Spring 2010. The national Healthy Minds Study is administered by the University of Michigan School Of Public Health, the multidisciplinary University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, and the Center for Student Studies in Ann Arbor, MI. 


Demographics and Other Characteristics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/ethnicity
  • US citizen/resident or international
  • Sexual orientation
  • Residence type
  • Year in program
  • Degree program
  • Field of study
  • Religiosity
  • Current financial situation
  • Family's financial situation when growing up
  • Mother's educational attainment
  • Father's educational attainment
  • Current relationship status

Mental Health Status

  • Flourishing/languishing (14-item Mental Health Continuum scale by Keyes)
  • Depressive symptoms, past 2 weeks (PHQ-9 scale, plus item on impairment)
  • Depressive symptoms, past year (first two items of PHQ-9)
  • Panic disorder symptoms, past 4 weeks (PHQ, 1-15 items depending on skips)
  • Generalized anxiety symptoms, past 4 weeks (PHQ, 1-8 items)
  • Eating behavior, current (8-9 items adapted from SCID)
  • Lifetime diagnoses of mental disorders
  • Perceived effect of mental health on academic performance, past 4 weeks
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), past year (types, and follow-up on frequency)
  • Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts, past year (1-3 items)

Lifestyle and Health-related Behaviors

  • Cigarette smoking, past 30 days
  • Marijuana and other illicit drug use, past 30 days
  • Exercise (moderate or higher intensity), past 30 days
  • Binge drinking, past 2 weeks
  • Gambling, past year
  • Experienced discrimination due to race/ethnicity/culture, past year
  • School work, hours per day in current semester
  • Working in paid job, hours per week in current semester
  • Confidence that completing degree will be worth cost and effort
  • Optimism about job prospects after completing education
  • Overall satisfaction with current college/university
  • Likelihood of donating money to college/university after graduating

Awareness of and Attitudes towards Mental Health Treatment

  • Knowledge about where to go for help with mental health
  • Belief about effectiveness of therapy or counseling for depression
  • Belief about effectiveness of medication for depression
  • Perceived stigma (3 items adapted from Discrimination-Devaluation Scale)
  • Personal stigma (3 items analogous to perceived stigma items)

Use of Mental Health Services

  • Perceived need for help, past year
  • Medications (specific types), regular use for at least 4 weeks in past year
    • Type of physician who wrote prescription (or no prescription)
    • Discussed medication with health provider, how often in past year
    • Medication, current use
  • Therapy or counseling in past year for mental health (yes/no)
    • Therapy or counseling, current
    • Number of visits in past year
    • Types and locations (campus, local community, other community) of providers
    • Satisfaction with therapy/counseling (hours, location, quality, respect for privacy, waiting time for appointment)
    • Open field comments on experiences with therapy/counseling
  • Visit to any health professional in past year
  • Counseling or support from non-clinical sources
    • Actual support received, past year
    • Hypothetical: "whom would you turn to?"

Barriers and Facilitators to Mental Health Services

  • Significant barriers noted from list (which includes items related to financial constraints, time, privacy concerns, lack of quality, and several other issues)
  • Facilitators (factors explaining why people have received services)
  • Health insurance coverage
    • Source of coverage (if any)
    • Coverage for mental health (definitely yes, think yes, no idea, think not, definitely not)
    • Whether plan meets needs for mental health services (and if not, reasons why)

Academic Environment

  • Supportiveness of degree program's department
  • Willingness to talk with various academic personnel about mental health
  • Perceived competitiveness among students in classes
  • Estimated cumulative GPA (A+, A, A-, etc)
  • Grades, relative to average person in same classes

Social Support

  • Perceived support from family
  • Perceived support from friends

(cited from:

For more information about the Healthy Minds Study, please visit the official website at