Senior Project Advisor

Jennifer McCabe

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2021


COVID-19, mental health, depression symptoms, college students, campus resource awareness, campus resource utilization


In early spring 2020, universities worldwide shut down their campuses in response to a global pandemic. The present study examines the potential effect of the shutdown and other pandemic-related stresses on student well-being at Western Washington University. It assesses students’ depression symptoms using the IDAS-II General Depression Scale. The study also considers two campus resources (the Counseling Center, and Prevention and Wellness Services) that students can turn to for help with mental health issues, and gauges students’ awareness and utilization of these resources. The study subjects were Western undergraduates (N = 252), who answered a survey that included the IDAS-II questions as well as questions about awareness, perceptions, use, and barriers to use, of campus resources. The average IDAS-II score of respondents was 56.20, indicating significantly greater depression symptoms than the widely cited average score for college students of 42.21. Participants were more aware of the Counseling Center than of Prevention and Wellness Services. Their attitudes toward both resources were more positive than negative, but they cited numerous barriers to utilizing the resources, including bad experiences and schedule conflicts. The results suggest that a greater effort should be made to increase awareness of Prevention and Wellness Services, which are especially appropriate for help with mild depression symptoms, as well as other resources (e.g. My SSP) that are minimally advertised. One approach would be to enact a mandatory resource training for students and faculty. This paper highlights Western students’ mental health and discusses ways that the university could make improvements to combat the negative effects of COVID-19.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020---Washington (State)--Bellingham; Depression, Mental--Washington (State)--Bellingham; School mental health services--Washington (State)--Bellingham; College students--Mental health services--Washington (State)--Bellingham

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Western Washington University

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)






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