Zainab Okolo is a strategy officer and Jamie Merisotis is president and CEO at Lumina Foundation.  Okolo is a licensed family therapist who used her research and work in mental health to set the stage for a conversation between Merisotis and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at an Aug. 30 event that was sponsored by the foundation and hosted by the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. 

We’re having a moment in mental health, and we need to use it to challenge, push for sustainable funding, focus on preventative measures and end the stigma of mental illness.

A recent conversation with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy gave us a glimpse into what’s at stake.

“There’s a crack in the door,” Murthy said recently at the American Council on Education Mental Health in Higher Education Roundtable. “We need to really blow that door open in terms of enabling the kind of conversations to happen about mental health that happen all the time about physical health … We have to find ways to model what it’s like to talk about our mental health, to help people understand that mental health is health. It’s part of our health — no less important than our physical health.”

Murthy said good mental health is not a side issue. It’s foundational to the well-being of our children and, well, all of us. Lumina Foundation has supported studies that reflect the urgency.

A 2022 Lumina/Gallup State of Higher Education poll found that 71% of associate and bachelor’s degree students considering leaving college indicated that stress was the reason.

Not Covid. Not costs. Stress.

Read the full article about mental health for college students by Zainab Okolo and Jamie Merisotis at Higher Education News.