2022 Campus Safety Report shows mental health tops list of concerns at K-12 schools and higher education institutions

March 24, 2022
Rave Mobile Safety’s survey highlights the most pressing crisis communication challenges and safety concerns heading into the 2022-2023 school year

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., March 22, 2022 – Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), provider of the critical communication and collaboration platform customers count on when it matters most, today released its 2022 Crisis Communication and Safety in Education Survey report, which indicated that leaders are beginning to move on from COVID-related safety measures, and are instead focusing on managing mental health and violence on campus.

The past two years of COVID-19 restrictions have been a challenging time for students, staff, faculty and parents/guardians. Campus leaders are concerned about how the lingering effects of the pandemic will impact school communities going forward, especially if the right resources and safety measures are not put in place.To better understand these concerns, Rave Mobile Safety fielded its second annual national survey of over 400 K-12 employees and over 380 higher education staffers in February 2022.

Key findings include:

  • Student mental health is the top safety concern for the 2022-2023 school year for K-12 respondents (61%) and the second-highest concern for higher education respondents (59%). 
  • Faculty and staff mental health is the third-highest safety concern for respondents from both K-12 schools (52%) and higher education institutions (44%). 
  • Concerns about active assailants on campus rose dramatically year-over-year for both K-12 respondents (+14%) and higher education respondents (+15%). 
  • K-12 survey respondents also shared increased concern about cyberbullying compared to 2021 (+12%), while higher education administrators expressed increased anxiety regarding crime (+20%) and severe weather events (+19%). 
  • To address these concerns, respondents on both the K-12 (43%) and higher education (39%) fronts are investing more heavily in mental health resources. 
  • For crisis communications, K-12 respondents indicated room for improvement in reaching staff (23%), and students and parents/guardians (26%), while higher education respondents had less concern in reaching staff (16%), and students and parents/guardians (15%).

K-12 Schools

The pandemic brought on periods of isolation and stress to students everywhere, bringing mental health concerns to the forefront of challenges for K-12 schools. According to the survey, two of the top three safety concerns for respondents are student (61%) and faculty/staff (52%) mental health. Anxiety around potential situations involving an active assailant saw a major rise (+14%), as did cyberbullying (+12%).

One area of concern that grew dramatically this year was the potential for future violent situations on campuses. More than half of respondents (55%) are more concerned about active assailants and violence on campus than they were before the pandemic. Social media is also complicating matters, as many respondents are following how recent waves of threats on TikTok and similar platforms are affecting schools. Nearly 80% of respondents acknowledged that these occurrences have contributed to their concern for campus safety.

Unsurprisingly, investing more in mental health resources (43%) emerged as the top intervention for next year – an 8% increase as compared to last year’s report. Currently, only half (50%) of schools believe they have adequate mental health resources to support students.

While these threats remain top of mind, many K-12 respondents acknowledged that they struggled to communicate effectively with all key parties. These challenges include issues reaching and notifying students and/or parents/guardians (26%) and issues reaching and notifying staff (23%).

Higher Education

More so than K-12 schools, institutions of higher education still list COVID-19-related safety measures as the top concern for next year (71%), followed by student mental health (59%) and faculty/staff mental health (44%). Additionally, concerns over crime increased by 20% year-over-year, and concerns over active assailants increased by 15%, both of which are likely related to the anticipated uptick in mental health needs next year.

Nearly half of survey takers (46%) are more concerned about active assailants and violent acts than they were prior to the beginning of the pandemic. As with K-12 schools, social media again increased anxiety about this kind of violence on campus amongst respondents. Threats on social media platforms have contributed meaningfully to how survey respondents (69%) think about campus safety.

To address leading safety concerns, higher education institutions are investing further in COVID-19-related safety resources (45%) and mental health resources (39%). They are also providing greater access to health and wellness services (38%) while ramping down certain activities, such as daily health checks for students.

Respondents in higher education experienced fewer crisis communication challenges than their K-12 counterparts. However, 16% still have a hard time reaching staff, and 15% struggle to reach students, parents and/or guardians amid crises.

“It’s already become obvious that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of students and staff at every level, and we need to prepare for the further implications and unrealized effects two years of isolation may have on these communities,” said Terri Mock, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Rave Mobile Safety. “By having clear communication and open channels for reporting concerns, both K-12 schools and higher education institutions can make sure that their campuses are adequately protected and informed as we navigate into a post-pandemic world.”

Download the full report

For more details on these findings, download the complete 2022 Crisis Communication and Safety in Education Survey report.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by the independent research firm Researchscape. Respondents were nearly 800 employees working in the K–12 and higher education industries in administration, emergency management, facilities and operations, IT services, marketing and communications, safety and security and student services. Responses were collected in February 2022. 

About Rave Mobile Safety

Rave Mobile Safety is the leading provider of critical communication and collaboration technology used to save lives, manage crisis incidents and increase resiliency. From major disasters and crisis events to everyday emergencies and operational incidents, the Rave platform enables critical data sharing, mass notification and emergency response coordination. Over 8,000 first responder, emergency management, 9-1-1, and federal, state and local agencies—as well as corporations, healthcare organizations, universities and schools—all rely on Rave to prepare better, respond faster, recover quicker and mitigate anticipated critical incidents. Founded in 2004, Rave’s award-winning software solutions are backed by leading growth equity firm TCV. Let Rave enable you to do all you can today® to keep everyone safe. For more information, visit https://www.ravemobilesafety.com, read our company blog, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.