UAB Research Study Collaboration to inform UAB about how to support student mental health and wellbeing.

The UAB School of Public Health, UAB Student Counseling Services, Graduate School, are collaborating to conduct a comprehensive prevention-focused, multicomponent, coordinated, multisectoral and collaborative longitudinal mixed-methods study of the impact of COVID-19 and race on student mental health. Additional support for this study is provided by the UAB Mental Health Ambassadors.

UAB is deeply committed to suicide prevention and supporting student mental health and wellbeing. Today’s college students are oftentimes referred to as the “anxious generation” with the increased use of social media and awareness about mental health. Sadly, 39% of students (i.e., 2 out of 5) in college experience a significant mental health issue with only 28% of youth with a major depressive episode receiving treatment. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students nationally.

Given the current state of affairs, we believe it is essential to reach out to our students and explore how they are doing, how they are coping, and what they need in order to be successful in pursuing their personal, academic, and career goals while attending UAB. Participants include undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as well as postdoctoral fellows.

The results of the research studies will inform administrators, leaders, student organizations, departments and faculty on campus about the experiences of students regarding COVID-19 and race and the impact of these experiences on student mental health. The results of this study will help UAB better understand how to support student mental health and wellbeing.

3 Phases of the Study

Longitudinal Study: Active September 1 – April 30

A 9-month longitudinal study will be conducted to learn about the experiences of undergraduate, graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows during COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic as well as race on mental health and wellbeing.

Individuals interested in being a participant should complete the form below. Participants will be asked to complete the following as part of the study:

  1. A baseline survey and an in-depth interview
  2. Monthly follow up questionnaires, including the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Health Well-being Scale (WEMWBS).
  3. End of study survey and in-depth interview.

Complete the Interest in Participating form here.

Focus Groups

The research team will conduct focus groups with key stakeholders (faculty, staff, and administration) across campus to get their perspectives on how students are coping and ways to support them. If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please contact Robin Lanzi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


During the summer of 2020, 1518 undergraduate, graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows completed an anonymous survey that included questions about the impact of events during COVID-19 and events around racial justice on research, academic progress, stress levels, and mental health.

Coping strategies and opportunities for input for on-campus support were also asked. Results of this survey are under analysis and will be reported in the coming months to help inform campus leaders and other institutions of higher education about the experiences of students and postdoctoral fellows and what support resources may be most helpful.

Partnership and Funding

This study is a partnership with UAB School of Public Health, Student Counseling Services, and the Graduate School. Funded by the UAB School of Public Health Back of the Envelope Award Mechanism, Principal Investigator, Dr. Robin Lanzi. You can find more information, including the list of Researchers on this project here.

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