Publications & Research

Degrees of Distress: How Higher Education Institutions Hurt and Help Student Mental Health

With rising public concern around mental health, it is clear that serious stressors are taking a toll on the well-being of college students across the country — and that students of color and those with significant financial barriers shoulder an even greater burden than their peers. Many larger forces are hurting student mental health — including hostile political rhetoric, violence, wealth disparities, and the ongoing effects of the pandemic. But the research is clear: Colleges and universities themselves are directly impacting how their students feel and fare. Degrees of Distress, authored by acclaimed researchers and professors Dr. Sam Museus and Dr. Lindsay Pérez Huber, and commissioned by College Futures Foundation, examines through a racial equity lens how higher education institutions hurt and help student mental health, with the goal of informing policy, practice, and narrative for a national movement toward students thriving and succeeding in postsecondary and beyond.

Download the Degrees of Distress Executive Summary

Download the Degrees of Distress Report


We interviewed Dr. Lindsay Pérez Huber and Dr. Tiffany Herbert, the associate vice president for health & well-being at CSU, Dominguez Hills, on this episode of Opportunity Forum with College Futures titled “Taking responsibility for College Student Mental Health.” Watch the episode guest hosted by Dr. April Yee, College Futures’ holistic student support and mental health lead.


Degrees of Distress in the News