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  1. This paper summarizes the results of our NSF funded longitudinal study on mental health in engineering education. Survey instruments were used to measure the prevalence of several mental health conditions in engineering students at 8 partner institutions as they progressed through their engineering programs. This data collection began in Fall 2019, shortly before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued into 2021. Our results, recapitulated here, provide a unique insight into the state of mental health in engineering education during “normal times,” how it changed and worsened during the early stages of the pandemic, and how and to what extent mental health has since recovered to pre-pandemic levels. 
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  2. This paper summarizes the results of our NSF funded longitudinal study on mental health in engineering education. Survey instruments were used to measure the prevalence of several mental health conditions in engineering students at 8 partner institutions as they progressed through their engineering programs. This data collection began in Fall 2019, shortly before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued into 2021. Our results, recapitulated here, provide a unique insight into the state of mental health in engineering education during “normal times,” how it changed and worsened during the early stages of the pandemic, and how and to what extent mental health has since recovered to pre-pandemic levels. 
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  3. The early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States caused unprecedented disruption to engineering students and society-at-large. Residential students suddenly found themselves forced off-campus and into a new regime of online learning. On top of this, students faced pandemic related uncertainty about their health and the health of their loved ones, restrictions on social life, and the privations of a stuttering economy. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic the engineering student population saw large increases in incidences of depression and other psychological conditions. While COVID-19 continues to be a concern, many of the restrictions and precautions associated with the early outbreak have been relaxed. Most engineering programs are back to in person learning, and strict COVID-testing regimes, mask mandates, and limits on large public gatherings have been largely phased out. With academia and society slowly adjusting to this “new normal,” it is important to know whether and to what extent mental health of engineering students has changed over the course of the pandemic. This work explores this question by analyzing longitudinal data collected at four times from 2019-2021. We analyze how the prevalence of different conditions changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether they have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Among other results, we found statistically significant increases were observed in total depressive disorders between our initial sample (Fall 2019) and a sample taken immediately post-COVID (Spring 2020). While measured rates of depression decreased between Spring 2020 and Fall 2021, it was not statistically significant, potentially indicating that the student population is still recovering on this metric. Conversely our data shows a statistically significant drop in moderate-to-major psychological distress between our Fall 2019 pre-pandemic sampling and our Fall 2021 post-pandemic sampling indicating, potentially indicating an improvement in overall mental health. Breaking the data down by gender, no significant changes were observed across any measure during the four sample periods for women respondents. Men, however, showed a significant increase in depressive disorders from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020; and a significant decrease in depressive disorders from Spring 2020 to Fall 2021. 
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  4. Mental health issues have long posed a challenge on university campuses. While no population is immune, research has shown that students from marginalised backgrounds can have higher rates of mental health issues and suffer worse outcomes as a result. These discrepancies have been attributed to everything from different cultural norms to the micro-aggressions and other barriers that students from marginalised populations face on university campuses. With the onset of COVID-19 in the United States, many residential universities switched to a remote learning model, fundamentally changing the relationship between students, campus, family support. This work uses survey data from students in the United States to explore how COVID-19 affected mental health issues among students from different backgrounds. While the pandemic drastically increased rates of depressive disorder among all respondents, discrepancies between mental health rates for women and Hispanic/Latinx compared to men and White respondents either decreased or disappeared. Additionally, respondents identifying as Asians were less likely to screen positive for several mental health conditions than White, Non-Hispanic respondents. These findings may point to important new insights about the ways in which engineering education undermines some groups’ mental health. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    This work in progress research paper characterizes mental wellness in engineering at five institutions across the Western United States to better understand what mental health issues most affect the broader engineering student community. Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that stress and certain mental wellness issues are particularly acute in the field of Engineering, and some recent research has shown elevated rates of mental wellness issues at different institutions around the country. This paper presents the results of a previously validated mental health survey conducted with first- and second-year students at several universities. The results of this work include screening rates for major mental health issues (e.g. DSM diagnosable) and moderate mental health issues as captured by the Kessler 6 screening instrument; screening rates for depressive, anxiety, and eating disorders as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ); and screening rates for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as measured by the Primary-Care Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PC-PTSD) instrument. This work also includes a preliminary analysis of screen rates by demographic groups so that educators and academic facilitators may be better aware of the types of challenges that face a diverse engineering student populace. Overall, we find that 28.4% percent of respondents potentially suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition as measured by Kessler 6. We also find that an additional 55.2% of students screen positive for moderate psychological distress. Breaking measurements down by demographic groups, we find that female respondents, particularly those from historically excluded ethnic groups and races, show elevated rates of Panic and PTSD disorders when compared to the male population. 
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