Why is mental health important for students?

June 21, 2024 •

6 min reading

Student mental health: Creating a supportive academic environment

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Mental health is an increasingly prevalent topic of conversation these days, with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and distress reported by Gen Zers than any other age group and the social stigma around it lifting. For young people in their study years in particular, mental health and well-being is critical at a potentially stressful time of life

However, people remember their university years as the best days of their life. Did they forget about all the hours spent studying? Didn’t they ever wake up from a nightmare in which they missed a deadline? And what about the stress before every single exam?

It is a well-known psychological phenomenon that humans tend to remember positive experiences more vividly than negative ones. This selective memory helps maintain mental well-being, allowing individuals to view their past through a nostalgic lens.

That said, the importance of well-being during university years cannot be overstated, as this is a crucial period of personal development.


How universities can support students

Ensuring the well-being of students involves addressing three key factors in priority:

  • Academic support,
  • Mental health,
  • Balanced lifestyle.

Universities must provide resources such as counseling, stress management workshops, social activities, and opportunities for physical activity to help students cope with the pressures of their studies.

Additionally, fostering a supportive community where students feel connected and valued can significantly enhance their overall experience. By taking these factors into account, institutions can create an environment where students not only thrive academically but also enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life.


What is the healthy campus program?

The Healthy Campus by FISU (Fédération Internationale des Sports Universitaires) program certifies universities that focus efforts on increasing their community’s well-being and demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to the quality of life of their community.

It is the perfect way to compare the efforts deployed with an evidence-based framework, allowing encouragement for cross-cutting collaborations and gradually involving more departments and resources in the project.

Launched in May 2020, this program evaluates institutions based on an extensive set of criteria to ensure a holistic approach to health and wellness. The certification process involves meeting over 100 specific criteria across several key areas:

1. Mental health support

Evaluates the availability and effectiveness of mental health services, such as counseling centers, stress management programs, and mental health awareness initiatives.

2. Physical activity

Assesses the quality and accessibility of sports facilities, the variety of physical activities offered, and programs designed to encourage regular exercise.

3. Nutrition

Looks at the availability of healthy food options, nutrition education programs, and initiatives to promote balanced eating habits on campus.

4. Social integration

Considers efforts to foster an inclusive and supportive campus environment, including social activities, community-building events, and support networks for students.

5. Health services

Examines the comprehensiveness of healthcare services provided, including
medical care, preventive health programs, and collaborations with external health providers.

6. Environmental sustainability

Reviews initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable and eco-friendly campus, promoting practices that reduce environmental impact.

7. Personal development

Evaluates programs and resources that support the personal growth and development of students, such as workshops, career counseling, and life skills training.


EHL Hospitality Business School, FISU accredited

By meeting these extensive criteria, universities awarded the Healthy Campus label showcase their dedication to creating a supportive, healthy, and enriching environment for their students, staff, and the broader campus community.

At EHL, discussion to undertake the Healthy Campus process began at the end of year 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic started showing sure sign of waning. Priorities being retrieving balance and investing the new campus, the process was then delayed for around a year to make sure it was embarked upon at an appropriate time to ensure impactful outcomes.

After an internal review, as well as the gathering of all the documentation and evidence, EHL Hospitality Business School is now the first hospitality school to receive the FISU Healthy Campus label. Indeed, six months into the process, the highest level of certification granted by the Healthy Campus scale has already been reached and EHL therefore joins the 29 “elite” universities that have obtained this level of validation.


Holistic health at EHL

EHL's commitment to student well-being is further evidenced by its comprehensive approach to health and wellness.

The many research articles that can be found on the EHL Insight blog on the link between hospitality and well-being has extended the understanding of the topic and underlines the growing interest in the domain. Shedding light on the value the new generation gives to nurturing well-being shows that prioritizing care and self-care is at a peak of urgency in the EHL community’s agenda.

Prevention is better than cure

After renovating and innovating a new health center with advanced quality services, a major shift towards prevention and health promotion was undertaken. This allowed cross-departmental collaborations.

Through the Healthy Campus process, it was now assessed that the new programs put in place for the promotion of mental health support and the eased access to a large panel of different external partners help students get the right support when needed and ensure regular medical care such as general medicine check-ups or STD screenings are undertaken on time.

You are what you eat

Nutrition is another focus area where excellence has been emphasized, with a goal of offering nutritional counseling by one of the internal nurses currently finishing her nutrition degree. In the meantime, a collaboration with the HES School of Nutrition students offers online consultations.

A transversal and cross-departmental project on healthy and sustainable internal F&B offerings has started, and another initiative was recently completed to make sure vending machines on campus provide healthy options.

Move more

EHL also prioritizes physical activity by providing a variety of sports programs and state-of-the-art facilities that encourage active lifestyles on and off the campus.

The free registrations to many local and regional competitions, as well as the wide range of team and individual sports in which students and staff can participate, definitely encourage physical activity.

The recent achievement of the Qualicert accreditation further strengthens the quality of service, facilities, and offerings of the sports services and continues the extension of the offer to become attractive for external clients.

Get involved

Get in EHL's commitment to well-being aligns with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being. By promoting mental health, physical activity, and nutritious eating habits, EHL ensures long-term health benefits for its community.

Social integration and personal development are actively promoted through a variety of activities and workshops, as well as taking on roles in one of the many committees. The Alaya by Benevity platform helps promote this dedication to social responsibility.


What now?

The Healthy Campus Label is one way to make sure the initiatives at EHL align with the general goal of putting words to action, and explicitly improve quality of life on campus during academic years.


EHL's holistic approach to student well-being not only enhances individual health and happiness but also fosters a sustainable community lifestyle.
It ensures that the community has the right environment to excel, embodying our mission to empower growth by nurturing excellence in human experiences.


Written by

Health & Wellness Coordinator at EHL