Giving Compass' Take:

• Natalie Schwartz, writing for Education Dive, explains that colleges are implementing more mental health initiatives for Gen Zers.

• How can mental health support on campus help eliminate stigma?

• Read about how universities are using gamification to help students combat social isolation. 

In 2013, George Mason University set its sights on a novel goal in higher education: becoming a model for how colleges can support well-being on campus.

The concept was simple. Rather than just provide students with an education, the public university in Virginia would bake well-being into every aspect of college life to help all members of its community thrive and find personal fulfillment.

So far, George Mason has made strides toward its goal by increasing the number of well-being programs on campus and regularly assessing the engagement levels of faculty and staff, among other initiatives. And the university is hardly alone; colleges across the country are doubling down on their efforts to help students de-stress and get centered.

Such initiatives stem partly from college students' mounting anxiety. Four in 10 incoming college freshmen in the fall of 2016 reported feeling "overwhelmed" by their responsibilities, compared to 28% in 2000, according to research from the Higher Education Research Institute.

And members of Generation Z — or those born since 1997 — are the least likely to report "excellent or very good" mental health, according to an October 2018 report from the American Psychological Association (APA). At the same time, they are more likely to seek help from a mental health professional, with 37% reporting they've done so, compared to 35% of Millennials and 26% of Gen Xers.

It will be critical for colleges to address Gen Z's mental health needs head-on and from the start of their time on campus. One-fourth of Gen Zers say they don't do enough to manage their stress, and nearly three-quarters (73%) indicate they could have benefited from more emotional support in the last 12 months, according to the APA.

Read the full article about college students' mental health by Natalie Schwartz at Education Dive.