College of Health Sciences


Health Services Research

Graduate Level


Publication Date





Introduction: While the impact of transitioning to a virtual learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic is well-documented, few studies have explored the mental health impact of reopening campus. As a measurement of mental health impact within the context of reopening campus, this study aims to identify factors associated with intention to initiate mental health services (MHS), with a particular focus on race, among college students.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey using stratified sampling was conducted via Qualtrics among students at a Virginia university in January 2022. The survey assessed demographics, online class experiences, past and future use of MHS, and feelings towards campus reopening. Crude and adjusted logistic regression models were developed to examine the association between race and intention to initiate MHS, controlling for other demographics.

Results: Of the 236 students who completed the survey, 39.4% (n= 93) reported they intended to initiate MHS within the next one to six months. Controlling for other demographics, intention to initiate MHS did not vary significantly by race; however, trends suggested that African Americans and those of two or more races were more likely to report intention to initiate MHS than Asians. Analyses indicated that age, gender, and employment status were significantly associated with intention to initiate MHS (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Campus reopening has presented unique challenges to students as they adjust to a “new normal.” Given the small sample size in the current study, future research is needed to further understand how utilization of MHS differs by race and other demographic characteristics.


Student mental health, COVID-19, Reopening


Mental and Social Health | Public Health



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Factors Predicting Intention to Initiate Mental Health Services among College Students Returning to Campus during COVID-19