Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health

The Healthy Minds Network’s annual web-based survey study examining mental health, service utilization, and related issues among undergraduate and graduate students.  Since its national launch in 2007, HMS has been fielded at about 320 colleges and universities, with over 400,000 survey respondents.  

If you’re a student and have questions about participating, please check out our HMS Student FAQ

Click the link below to view the  
HMS 2020-2021 Questionnaire

Participation Overview
HMS Survey
Elective Modules
Participation Fees
Additional Research Opportunities
Benefits of Participating
Data Reporting
Participation Overview

Overview of the Healthy Minds Study

HMN is now enrolling colleges and universities for survey data collection during the 2020-2021 school year. The enhanced Healthy Minds Study (HMS) is available for implementation at all types of post-secondary institutions, including U.S. and international four-year colleges and universities as well as community colleges. 

By enrolling your institution in HMS, you are joining a group of colleges and universities dedicated to understanding and addressing issues related to students’ mental health through scientifically rigorous research. The ultimate goal is that HMS data can be used to inform policy and practice on college and university campuses. If you have not already done so, we hope you will join us in our efforts to achieve this goal by enrolling your campus in HMS.

We have created a detailed guide that is intended to make your participation in the study as easy and rewarding as possible. The guide provides an overview of HMS and explains each step from enrollment to data collection, highlights specific tasks at each step, as well as provides a general timeline that we will follow together to ensure a smooth participation experience.

Please review the 2019-2020 Participation Guide and Research Design Protocol below to acquaint yourself with the Healthy Minds Study. For an overview of the HMS survey, please review the following documents: 

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed in this guide, or would simply prefer to learn about participation from one our research team members, please contact us at and we will be happy to set up a phone call and/or answer questions via email.

For more information, please email



Ready to enroll your college or university? Please complete our brief, online, preliminary interest form. This form is by no means a finalized commitment of your participation. Rather, the purpose of the interest form is to collect basic information that will help us facilitate a smooth participation process. Once you submit the form, a member of our research team will contact you directly to discuss next steps. You may also reach out to us at any time at

Once your participation in HMS is confirmed, our research team will email the primary contact at your institutions a link to an individualized, online HMS Qualtrics Enrollment Form. The Enrollment Form will serve as a step-by-step guide to enrolling and on-boarding your school in HMS for the given academic year. The primary contact will be able to upload all items needed for HMS directly to their enrollment form. HMS study coordinators can assist the primary contact with any items along the way.

For more information, please email

HMS Survey

Healthy Minds Study Survey

The Healthy Minds Study consists of three (3) core modules:

  1. Demographics
  2. Mental Health Status
  3. Mental Health Service Utilization/Help-Seeking  

All administrations of the survey will include these core modules. Below, you may review our questionnaires in full. The questionnaire will be arranged with each of the 3  core modules at the top. The elective modules will be listed below. For a menu of our elective modules, please click the corresponding tab to the left.  

The 2020-21 questionnaires are available below:

*Institutions that elect the Standard HMS version may now customize the survey by choosing 1 elective module in addition to the 3 standard modules.  If a campus wishes to choose additional elective modules, they may provide us with a larger sample of students (typically 8,000 or more students).

For a small additional fee (see Participation Fees), campuses may add up to 10 custom items to the survey. Our research team is experienced in survey design methodology and can provide guidance as needed in the creation of custom items.

Pricing and availability of additional options may vary for other HMS versions.

For more information, please email

Elective Modules

Elective Modules

In addition to the three core modules (a. Demographics, b. Mental Health Status, and c. Mental Health Service Utilization/Help-Seeking) that are included with each iteration, institutions may choose to administer elective modules.

These modules reflect unique areas of interest relevant to student mental health and well-being. Paired with the core modules, these elective modules allow stakeholders to attain a more holistic perspective of student health and wellness. 

To review these in detail, please find a PDF of our most recent HMS iteration on the Survey tab to the left. Topics covered in the elective modules include: 

  • COVID-19 (for more information on our COVID-19 module, please click here)
  • Substance Use
  • Sleep
  • Eating and Body Image
  • Sexual Assault
  • Overall Health
  • Knowledge and Attitudes about Mental Health and Mental Health Services
  • Upstander/Bystander Behaviors
  • Mental Health Climate
  • Climate for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Academic Competition, Persistence and Retention
  • Resilience and Coping
  • Financial Stress
  • Attitudes about Mobile Resources

For more information, please email



Our sampling approach is designed to yield statistically accurate estimates for key measures in the study. The Healthy Minds Study (HMS) can be administered on any campus, regardless of student body size (we have fielded the survey at schools with fewer than 1,000 students and at schools with more than 50,000 students). 

At institutions with more than 4,000 students, our typical approach is to select a random sample of 4,000 students from the full student population and invite these students to participate in the survey. A sample of 4,000 is generally sufficient for obtaining precise, representative estimates of key measures such as the prevalence of mental health symptoms and service use. 

At institutions with fewer than 4,000 students, our approach is to invite the full student population to participate. When available, we typically include both undergraduate and graduate students in the sample. The expected response rate is approximately 25%.

While most schools follow the typical sampling approach, we are happy to accommodate special requests when possible. For example, if, for any number of reasons, there is a specific sub-population of particular importance to your campus (e.g., international students, law school students, etc.), we can over-sample these students.

Additionally, some schools (typically those with at least 8,000 students) choose to administer the survey to 2 or more separate samples of 4,000 students each; in this case, campuses may choose different elective modules for each survey in addition to the 3 standard modules.

In general, our goal is to facilitate research that will help inform programs and policies on campus. To this end, we make every effort to be flexible with regard to sampling and data collection.

For more information, please email

Participation Fees

Participation Fees

Due to the financial barriers placed on institutions by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting pricing consultations with all participating schools. Please fill out our Preliminary Interest Form, and we will reach out to discuss your needs and options. 

Flexibility and understanding are our priorities this year, and we are willing to work with all institutions. Our goal is to ensure that schools can continue to make data-informed decisions on student mental health this upcoming academic year.

*HMS-JED participation is included in your school’s JED Campus fee

Participating in HMS is a short-term cost for a long-term gain, providing colleges and universities with the data needed to improve student well-being. All participation fees support the work of the Healthy Minds Network and our efforts to improve campus-based mental health research and practice.

For more information, please email

Additional Research Opportunities

Additional Research Opportunities 

Based on our experience conducting the survey on over 180 campuses over the past 10 years, we’ve developed several additional research opportunities.

  1. In order to examine changes over time, we offer a longitudinal (or repeated measures) option, whereby we conduct the survey 2 or more times with the same sample of students. This allows for the examination of changes in mental health and other factors within individuals.
  2. In order to examine how mental health symptoms predict academic outcomes (GPA and retention), we offer an option to link student survey data with academic records. For example, we can help you link your HMS survey data with grades and persistence/retention, to see how mental health predicts academic outcomes.

Please contact us ( for more information about these additional research opportunities and the associated fees.

Benefits of Participating

Benefits of Participating

Using validated measures, HMN’s survey research provides a detailed look at the prevalence of mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, disordered eating, suicidal ideation, self-injury), service utilization, and related behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge among a representative sample of students at participating institutions. HMN’s survey research has a special emphasis on understanding help-seeking behavior, examining stigma, knowledge, and other potential barriers to mental health service utilization. 

HMN data can be used in numerous ways on college and university campuses:

  • To strengthen grant applications (e.g., SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith grants)
  • To advocate for mental health services and programs on campus
  • To evaluate existing programs (e.g., reductions in stigma following a major campaign)
  • To assess need for programs and services (see here for example of the memo on the economic case we customize and provide for each school)
  • To raise awareness of mental health and campus resources
  • To make comparisons with peer institutions

To learn more about the data reporting process and HMS data-deliverables, visit our Data Reporting page.

Participating campuses report using HMS data to:

  • “…help determine types of support services that our students need and training for our campus community.”
  • “…educate the [name of school] community about the state of the student mental health on our campus. We also have used the data to help us develop training for faculty and staff on how to intervene with a student in distress, and it has also helped inform our efforts to create outreach programs focused on building resiliency.”
  • “…present to Board of Trustees on profile of our students’ profile of attitudes, behaviors, etc. regarding mental health as well as comparisons of same [measures] with students internationally.”
  • “…[give] presentations on the results to groups of faculty and staff. [Also] having discussions with the President and Provost about the results and implications, which impacted their understanding of the issues.”
  • “…educate and create awareness for staff members, which has helped us advocate for new programs and campus culture change.”

Data Reporting

Data Reporting

Your School’s Data Deliverables — HMN’s data reporting initiatives are designed to facilitate the translation of mental health research into practice on college and university campuses. In order to make the research as useful as possible, the HMN team provides participating institutions with numerous ways to examine their data:

Customized data sets
Participating institutions receive a de-identified data set containing their students’ responses to the survey items. These data are provided in multiple file formats (e.g., SPSS, Stata, and Excel). Institutions also receive spreadsheets containing their students’ responses to open-ended survey questions. To ensure that individuals are able to work efficiently with their campus data, the HMN team also provides access to a comprehensive codebook. Examples of the data sets can be found by viewing our national data sets, on our Data for Researchers page.

Customized data reports
Participating institutions receive a customized data report with tables and graphs illustrating findings for key survey items and an appendix containing descriptive statistics for other items. These reports include comparisons to the national sample of schools. Examples of the aggregated, national reports are provided below. Institutions receive electronic and hard copies of their customized data reports. Campuses that choose to add custom items to the survey also receive a data report containing the results of those items. Examples of the data reports can be found by viewing our national data reports, on our Data for Researchers page.

Interactive Data Interface
Contacts at participating institutions are able to log in to a secure server to further explore their data. In a drop-down menu format, the data interface allows individuals to easily generate graphs and tables for presentations. It is also easy to examine sub-groups of interest, such as differences in depressive symptoms between men and women or undergraduate and graduate students.

Economic Case Memo
Participating institutions receive a brief customized memo summarizing how their data can be translated to an economic case for student mental health services and programs. An example of the economic case memo we draft for your school can be found here. For general data on the economic case for investing in college mental health, download this infographic.

How Your School’s Data Will be Used

By participating in HMS, you agree to have your school’s data become part of a de-identified, national, aggregate data set, which will be used by Healthy Minds researchers to examine mental health trends, prevalence, and related factors among college students across the nation and beyond.

Furthermore, researchers outside of the Healthy Minds Network may request to use this data for their own research purposes (for more on how to request HMS data, visit our Data for Researchers page). These data sets are always de-identified with regards to your students, and usually blinded with regards to your school.

In rare cases, some researchers may present a significant need for obtaining a data set which contains the names of participating schools (e.g., they are doing regional analyses, they wish to compare “peer” institutions, they wish to compare mental health outcomes to programmatic efforts at various campuses, etc.). If the HMN team and the University of Michigan IRB determine that their justification is sufficient, researchers will be granted a school-identified data set, with the underlying agreement that they will never publicize the names of any schools in relation to their data, in any format.

Researchers who request HMS school-identified data must fill out a Data Use Agreement, subject to review by the University of Michigan IRB and contracts officials.

That being said, any person may view the public National Data reports, found on this page.

For more information, please email