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What colleges can do right now to help alleviate the mental health crisis on campus



What colleges can do right now to help alleviate the mental health crisis on campus

Young Americans are facing a mental health crisis—and many aren’t getting the support they need. 

About three-quarters of college students rated their mental health as “well” prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, but nearly half (48%) say their overall mental health worsened since the pandemic, according to an exclusive Fortune survey of 1,000 college students conducted by The Harris Poll in June. 

“Nobody can argue that COVID has made life more difficult for everybody, especially for youth and young adults. I’m not sure we’ve given young adults enough credit for what they’ve had to go through with COVID,” says Alison Malmon, executive director and founder of the campus mental health advocacy group Active Minds

In these challenging times, many of the nation’s 16 million college students are turning to their campus counseling services for help—only to encounter limited staff, red tape, restrictions on the length of services, and long wait times. While more than half of college students report they’ve been in therapy at some point, less than a third report utilizing any mental health resources on campus, according to Fortune’s survey.

But despite the obstacles colleges and universities face in providing comprehensive mental health resources, there are actions schools can take now to offer more immediate relief and help mitigate the ongoing crisis on campuses nationwide. 

Overall, most experts say it will likely take a multi-pronged approach to address the crisis: long-term training and educating a new generation of therapists, more clinical and non-clinical resources, and a more holistic approach to mental wellness. Students and parents may also need to adjust their expectations. 

“Colleges and universities obviously are really interested in academic rigor and folks graduating. But the world is not the same [post-pandemic], and so they will have to shift their perception of what is a successful student,” says Dr. Tia Dole, the executive director of The Steve Fund, a nonprofit focused on the mental health of young people of color.

Why is there a lack of quality services? 

Most colleges and universities have little incentive on the surface to provide robust mental health resources. Colleges are fundamentally businesses with many competing priorities. Ostensibly schools need only provide an education in exchange for the high tuition. But there’s an implicit (and sometimes explicit) promise that these institutions will provide a safe and supportive environment for students to matriculate. 

It’s also arguably in the college and university’s best interest to support its student body. Students are more likely to drop out and transfer schools when they experience mental health struggles. The latest data from Sallie Mae found that 14% of students say mental health was the primary reason they didn’t graduate. Other studies put that figure at closer to a quarter of students.

Yet for all that mental health issues could endanger students’ academic success and overall health, there are few federal or state requirements that schools provide a minimum level of mental health resources.  

While nearly three-quarters of all college presidents identified student mental health as a pressing issue last year, taking substantive action has been slow-going.

“Everyone recognizes it’s a major issue, and I think every campus is struggling a bit with what are the best approaches to addressing it,” says Paula Johnson, president of Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 

In many cases, it’s a matter of resources. There simply aren’t enough. About 35% of colleges report putting limits on individual counseling sessions, according to the 2021 Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) annual report. And nearly half of college counseling centers use a version of the “stepped care” model, which initially provides students with the least resource-intensive treatment and only boosts the level of care if required. That means many times, students need to try out self-guided solutions, workshops, and peer support groups before they’re given the opportunity to receive individual therapy sessions. 

Stepped care attempts to ensure students are getting the support they need, while managing a college’s limited counseling resources. Most colleges only have a few full-time counselors and therapists on staff. About 65% do not have any dedicated staff that provides psychiatric services, according to CCMH findings. 

But the current offerings at most colleges often fall short. This kind of crisis needs a national strategy to find workable solutions and set clear parameters, Johnson says. “There’s no agency that owns this issue—and that’s a problem,” she says. As a result, schools have very different standards and protocols, making it even more confusing for students (and their families) to navigate. 

Campus counseling centers are also grappling with the nationwide talent shortage of clinicians. “We need more and more clinicians than we ever needed before. And we need to start getting people excited about entering a career in mental health when they’re young,” says Brett Donnelly, vice president of college health business development at Mindpath Health, which provides in-person and virtual therapy and psychiatry for college students at seven locations in California and one in Minneapolis. 

What can colleges do right now to alleviate the crisis? 

Building that talent pipeline is going to take time. Instead, many experts see peer-to-peer mental health resources and even telehealth as more immediate solutions to help ease the crisis on campus. 

There needs to be a bit of “de-clinicalization” of the mental health space, argues Malmon. “It can’t be just the clinical mental health workforce that addresses this issue,” she says, adding that many times, peer-to-peer programs like Active Minds can help provide support, as well as encourage students to be more actively engaged in the campus community or student groups. And that sense of belonging can go a long way toward helping sustain students’ mental health. 

Many new mental health tech startups are also eyeing this space. Spring Health, founded in 2016, works with a number of higher ed institutions. Most of the schools opt for unlimited access to the company’s digital or self-guided tools—which includes help navigating the best care options and crisis counselors—as well as between six and 12 free sessions with a therapist or medication provider.

“I received my PhD at Yale University and saw first-hand how hard it is for students to get access to mental health care,” Adam Chekroud, co-founder and president of Spring Health, tells Fortune. “Most universities are simply not set up to adequately meet the volume of demand for mental health services. And so, instead, there are incredibly long wait times when people do raise their hand and ask for care, and many students simply don’t bother.” 

These services can be expensive for colleges and universities, says Dr. Doug Hankes, licensed psychologist and executive director of student counseling and psychological services at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. And they’re not always worth the investment. 

“A lot of counseling centers and universities…have spent tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars on these third-party vendors, and students have not utilized them,” Hankes says. But even so, he says he’s been evaluating options for the upcoming school year to provide increased access, as well as a diversity of options for students. 

Auburn, a winner of the 2022 Healthy Campus Award from Active Minds, has embraced a multidisciplinary approach to mental well-being that goes beyond just the clinical services offered. At Auburn, that includes student mental health clubs and peer-to-peer support, a “Zen Den” offering a variety of stress management resources for students like a nap room and light therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder, as well as a therapy dog program that includes Dr. Moose, Dr. Nessie, and Dr. Rooster. Students are also eligible for up to 10 free individual therapy sessions per academic year. 

Mental health intervention and prevention may need to come earlier as well—perhaps even in the classroom. Some high schools and colleges require students to take a health class, but rarely is mental health a focus. But if young adults are given tools to help them overcome adversity and manage their stress earlier, it could help alleviate the pressure on college resources. Even in college, it could be a preventative step. Wellesley College includes mental health curriculum in one of its first-year writing courses.

Beyond the direct support from colleges, Hankes says parents and students should come to campus with realistic expectations. Families often expect there will be the same level of resources they received through private care, Hankes says. That’s not always the case—and families may need to make alternative arrangements in advance. 

“People are talking about mental health in a way that never existed,” Malmon says. But that means it’s now incumbent for the “adults in the room” to take action and provide this generation with the tools needed to get mental health right. 

“We all have mental health. We may not all have mental illness, but we all have mental health,” Malmon says. “And so what are we going to do to support each other and ourselves to improve our mental health and ensure those who need something…can access it?”


Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter



Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter



Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says



The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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