News Brief

President Eddinger Moderates "Community College Mental Health and Its Impact on Student Success"

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The American Council on Education (ACE) and the Mary Christie Foundation hosted a webinar on February 8, 2021, titled "Community College Mental Health and Its Impact on Student Success." The webinar explored the links between mental health, a sense of belonging, and student success at community colleges. The promotion of mental well-being has been extensively explored to improve retention within the four-year college environment, but more examination is needed for community colleges.

Panelists included Daisy Cocco De Filippis, President, CUNY Hostos Community College; Kathryn Jeffrey, Chancellor and Superintendent, Santa Monica College; and Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College. Part of their discussion included government, policymakers, and practitioners' role in creating a culture of positive mental health and belonging.

"Our students' mental health challenges can severely impact a student's success overall. The connected social system serving our students in our communities of color, our communities of poverty, both rural and urban have been strained before COVID, from years of underfunding and neglect," said President Eddinger. "Education, healthcare, housing, child care, transportation, technology access – these safety nets are tattered, and it really hit home with our students."

Considering the context of history and the systemic societal failures that have contributed to poor mental health for this unique student population, panelists discussed priorities for a renewed focus on well-being and reviewed gaps in knowledge.

"Put mental health on every agenda that you have control over or influence with," said Russell Lowery-Hart

To watch the webinar, go to the ACE Engage website and sign up for a free trial.