How might we provide better access to mental health services for college students? 

In a 2016 national survey of college students, 85% reported feeling overwhelmed by demands, and reports of academic pressure and increased stress are now commonplace. In another study, conducted by Barnes and Noble, 76 percent of the students reported experiencing mental health issues. Among them, only 21 percent stated that they seek out professional help or speak with faculty members. 

NYU as many other higher education institutions in the US offers services to support students facing mental health issues. Yet, studies show that many students do not seek help – either because they feel uncomfortable, or they are not aware of the issue they are facing. Moreover, it is not always easy to know where to find the information and navigate the resources offered – especially if you are a first-year student or an international student. 

For the 2020 academic year, we have started this new project to improve access to mental health services for college students. We will focus on improving the experience of NYU students trying to find or access these services. We have assembled a team of 5 students to work on this new project using Human-Centered Design principles. Students from all majors and schools, undergraduates and graduates, are welcome as long as they have an interest in the topic and human-centered design and a desire to create ways to improve access to mental health services. We are excited to be partnering to Student Affairs and Services at NYU Tandon for this first phase and hope to be able to pilot our solutions. 

Expectations are:

  • Willingness to learn Human-Centered Design and tackle the problem with this approach (info on HCD at
  • A time commitment of 5 hours per week (for research, synthesis, prototyping, user feedback, and team meetings)| and

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