Student FAQ


Participation Information for Students

Thank you for considering participation in the Healthy Minds Network (HMN)’s survey research. You are likely here because you have been asked to participate in the Healthy Minds Study (HMS). HMS was designed specifically for colleges and universities, and its success depends on gathering the diverse perspectives of students across campus. By participating, you will be providing your school with valuable information that will improve student life and you will be contributing to a broader goal of promoting student well-being within higher education.

Below you will find our Frequently Asked Questions by Students for HMS, compiled from questions asked over 10 years of working with students who have been invited to participate in HMS. If you do not find an answer to your questions, below, please click around this site to find more information, or you may email our study team at healthyminds@umich.edu.

  • Why was I emailed and asked to respond to the survey?
    • Several thousand students at your school—in addition to thousands more at other schools—have been randomly selected to participate in the study to better understand the stresses students experience in college and graduate school. HMS was designed specifically for colleges and universities, and its success depends on gathering the diverse perspectives of students across campus. By participating, you will be providing your school with valuable information that will improve student life and you will be contributing to a broader goal of promoting student well-being within higher education.
  • How did you get my name and email address?
    • We invited degree-seeking students at your institution to participate in this voluntary study. Your school provided our team with a sample file of students from the Registrar’s Office, which included your first name and email address. In addition, this file may have also included the following information: last name, sex, race/ethnicity, Undergraduate v. Graduate Status, year in program (freshman, sophomore, 1st-year, 2nd-year, etc.), and grade point average (GPA). The consent form in your survey link will tell you exactly which of these variables have been gathered from your school. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact the researchers at healthyminds@umich.edu.
  • Why was my information given to the Healthy Minds Network for this study?
    • Your school seeks to participate in this study to better understand and improve the mental health needs of students on their campus. Therefore, we asked them for a sample of students along with your contact information to send out our survey, and with the additional data mentioned above to ensure the study’s generalizability to your entire campus. Your school is allowed to share this information, if they so choose, on all students recruited for the study, given the guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These guidelines allow schools to disclose those records, without consent, to outside parties under these conditions: (34 CFR 99.31(a)(6)). This includes organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school. In particular, your school could determine that these studies help develop, administer, or validate predictive tests, administer student aid programs, or improve instruction. Our study is consistent with these specifications in multiple ways. For example, our study aims to understand more about how the learning environment (i.e. instruction) can be improved through addressing mental health.
  • How is the survey administered?
    • HMS uses Qualtrics, an online survey research platform, to aid in data collection. Thousands of colleges and universities use Qualtrics to perform academic surveys and to gain feedback. You may have taken Qualtrics surveys in the past without even knowing the technology behind it.
  • What is a confidential survey?
  • How is my confidentiality protected?
    • This survey was designed to protect your privacy and confidentiality. Your name and personal information will not be attached to your survey data. Any information that you provide in the survey will be stored in a file that is separate from your identifiable information. The data from this study, without any identifiable information, will be retained in a secure repository by the research team at the University of Michigan for future research purposes. Any reports or articles written about this survey will describe the data as a whole and will contain no information that could allow someone to identify you. Your school will receive a de-identified data set and will not be given access to your individually identifiable information.
      Furthermore, information you provide in this survey is protected from disclosure by a Certificate of Confidentiality granted to us by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This Certificate protects our study team from being compelled in any Federal, State, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings to identify you by name or other identifying characteristic. For more on the Certificate of Confidentiality, and its limitations, please read the consent form provided to you in your survey link. Additionally, the study team is obliged by several pledges (e.g., ISR Safeguarding Respondent Confidentiality Pledge, re-affirmed annually) and Institutional Review Board guidelines to ensure that identifying data are protected.
  • The survey link in the email doesn’t work; how can I access my survey?
    • Please try copying and pasting your link into a new window of your current web-browser or use a different web-browser altogether. Also, make sure your internet connection is stable.
  • Why was I emailed multiple times?
    • Most students feel comfortable either choosing to participate or taking the simple steps to decline to participate. Over the course of the one-month data collection period, students who have not responded will receive several reminders. Students are free to follow the survey link to the consent form and click “No, I do not consent to participate in this study,” or click on the “Opt-Out” link located at the bottom of your HMS email.
  • I've already taken this survey; why do I keep receiving emails about this study?
    • This is most likely a mix-up of some sort. Our surveying software ensures that reminder emails are only sent to those who have not submitted a survey. Therefore, either you have not completely finished your survey, or you may be confusing this survey with a different survey on your campus. Furthermore, it is possible that your school sent HMS to its students a previous year—if you took this survey in the past, you are being contacted about a new iteration now, and we would love to have your input, again!
  • I do not want to receive further emails about this study; how do I remove myself from the mailing list?
    • Follow the survey link to the consent form and click “No, I do not consent to participate in this study,” or click on the “Opt-Out” link located at the bottom of your HMS email.
  • Will I be compensated for taking this survey?
    • No, you will not be guaranteed compensation for taking this survey. However, you will be entered into a sweepstakes for one of two $500 prizes or one of ten $100 prizes. In addition, your school may conduct their own incentive drawing for those who participate in the survey—if so, you will be notified in your HMS email with your survey link.
  • There was not a place for me to put in my information for the sweepstakes; have I been entered? When will I find out about my prize?
    • Yes, all invited students at all participating institutions for this study are automatically entered to with the prizes, regardless of participation. The sweepstakes prize drawing will be conducted the following summer by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, MI. The chances of winning a prize are approximately 3 in 200,000. Winners will be notified by email with information about how to collect the prize.
  • If one of the following categories describes me, should I participate in this study?
    Online student
    Graduate student
    Nontraditional student
    Studying abroad
    • Yes, we invited all degree-seeking students at your institution to participate in this voluntary study. We welcome your diverse perspective!
  • If I'm a non-degree-seeking student, or am auditing a class, should I participate in this study?
    • No—this survey is meant to give campuses and other researchers a picture of what mental health looks like among degree-seeking university students. Although your perspective and experiences are an important piece of your school’s overall climate, they are not part of this study’s main objective.
  • Can I change some of my answers to the survey I already submitted?
    • No—to maintain the validity of our survey design, we do not allow for editing of responses that have already been submitted.
  • I accidentally did not consent to the survey, but I want to participate; can I have a new link?
    • No, unfortunately. Because we use an anonymized method of sending email invitations to students, to protect your confidentiality and keep your contact information separate from your survey information, there is no way for us to track down your “accidental” survey and send you, individually, a new link. We apologize for the inconvenience, and greatly appreciate your interest in participating!
  • I think I would like to receive help for my mental health; what resources are available to me?
    • Your school’s counseling center contact information is listed at the top of every page of your survey. Mental health resources on your campus are also listed at the end of your survey. However, please feel free to reach out to healthyminds@umich.edu and we can provide you this list of mental health resources on your campus directly. We’re also happy to put you in touch with the primary contact of this study at your specific institution if you want to speak with someone directly about any questions/concerns you have.
  • I have a suggestion/question for your survey; how can I submit my feedback to the study team?
    • We welcome feedback about our study! Our team is always striving to improve our survey. Please fill out our brief Student Feedback form to provide your suggestions for improving the Healthy Minds Study.