Publications & Research

From Persisting to Thriving: How We Can Act Now to Support College Student Wellness

For years now, college students have been vocal about their increased need and desire for mental health support as they continue to navigate larger social contexts – increasingly hostile political environments, racial conflicts, growing wealth gaps, and global health concerns – while pursuing a postsecondary education. Students of color and others who are underserved, especially, experience an outsized share of serious stressors that take a toll on their academic success and overall wellness, making clear that prioritizing mental health is a key component to meeting the needs of learners and advancing racial equity.

In order to better inform discussions of this vitally important issue, College Futures Foundation is releasing a new brief, From Persisting to Thriving: How We Can Act Now to Support College Student Wellness. The publication surfaces critical observations from a scan of California’s policy and funding landscape around college student mental health conducted by our partners at Learning For Action, as well as an analysis of the larger societal narratives shaping policy and funding decisions. A companion to our recently released report Degrees of Distress, this new brief also identifies the roles advocates, policymakers, practitioners, and funders can play to shift how we understand college student mental health, so that together we can effectively advance student well-being and success.

Download the From Persisting to Thriving Brief

Learning For Action’s full report, “College Student Mental Wellness in California: A Landscape Scan of Systems, Supports, and What Students Need,” including research methods, complete findings, analysis, and sources supporting this brief, can be accessed here.


Watch the Webinar Recording

College Futures Foundation hosted a live webinar on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, to discuss research from Degrees of Distress: How Higher Education Institutions Hurt and Help Student Mental Health and From Persisting to Thriving: How We Can Act Now to Support College Student Mental Wellness. Expert panelists reflected on the reports’ findings and share how their work seeks to answer college students’ calls for care.

Author Panel:

  • Tomika Rodriguez, M.Ed., consultant, Learning For Action; co-author, From Persisting to Thriving
  • Dr. Sam Museus, professor in the School of Social Sciences, University of California, San Diego; co-author, Degrees of Distress

Field Panel:

  • Dr. Rashida Crutchfield, executive director, Center for Equitable Higher Education; associate professor, Cal State Long Beach
  • Dr. Edward Bush, executive board member, African American Male Education Network and Development (A2MEND); president, Cosumnes River College
  • Marcos Montes, policy director and Let’s Go program manager, SoCal CAN
  • Jennifer Nguyen, director of postsecondary success, Stupski Foundation


  • Elizabeth González, PhD, chief strategy & program officer, College Futures Foundation