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Condom company Trojan ranked college campuses for student sexual health. So, who came out on top?

Trojan teamed up with Sperling's BestPlaces to find which ones are doing sexual health resources right.

Choosing a college is a tough decision.

There are so many factors to consider: location, student-faculty ratio, majors ... sexual health.

Well, the quality of sexual health resources isn't a category in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, but it totally should be.


From consent to sexual violence, we've seen a serious uptick in public conversations about safe sex on campus. And the idea of young adults getting reliable health care and information? I think that's something we can all get behind.

So does Trojan. That's why they've been publishing a sexual health report card, grading U.S. colleges in 11 categories — including contraceptive availability, STI testing, and quality of online resources — for the past 10 years. And the 2015 results are in.

Here are the schools that came out on top:

1. Oregon State University

Photo by Kirt Edblom/Flickr.

OSU is valedictorian for the second year in a row after a surprising 25-slot rise from 2013 to 2014. The OSU Beavers excel when it comes to sexual health, getting perfect scores on an impressive 5 out of 11 categories, including sexual health website information quality, student peer groups programming, and contraceptive availability.

2. Stanford University

Photo by Anna Fox/Flickr.

Stanford is another recent up-and-comer. After taking #20 in 2013, it skyrocketed to #5 in 2014. There's no shortage of sexual health resources on campus. My favorite? The Sexual Health Peer Resource Center gives every undergrad $3 every quarter to go toward sexual health products. That's enough to cover 60 glow-in-the-dark condoms per year!

3. University of Georgia

Photo by David Torcivia/Flickr.

Georgia is one of 20 states that require comprehensive sex education and HIV education for schoolchildren. This state university continues that awesome trend of supporting safe and healthy sex. UGA Bulldogs can get free condoms, lube, and dental dams delivered right to their dorm doors, courtesy of the Condom Express program.

4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Photo by Jason Crotty/Flickr.

Michigan Wolverines aren't just among the best in college sports. They're also at the top of their game when it comes to sexual health resources. Need to see a sex therapist? They've even got those on campus!

5. Brown University

Photo by John W. Schulze/Flickr.

The Bears at Brown know how to get down. Considering the stereotype that Brown students are more ... free-spirited, I'm not surprised they're the highest-ranking Ivy League school on this list. They offer a LOT of health education services, including peer-educator groups called SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness Group) and the Safer Sex Squad.

6. University of Oregon

Photo by Andre Chinn/Flickr.

Remember that movie "Animal House"? Yep. That was filmed on this campus. If that isn't reason enough for them to have amazing sexual health care, I don't know what is. Three cheers for a school that made an MTV-recommended app called SexPositive and offers free finger cots. Glad they delivered.

7. University of Iowa

Photo by Phil Roeder/Flickr.

It looks like the Hawkeyes like coming first: The school opened its doors just 59 days after Iowa officially became a state and has continued to be a trailblazer. It was the first American public university to go co-ed and to award law degrees to a woman and a black person. And thanks to some amazing protestors, the school's sexual assault policies are miles ahead of most colleges with their new affirmative consent policy.

8. Columbia University

Photo by InSapphoWeTrust/Flickr.

Columbia is home of one of my favorite health advice sites: Go Ask Alice! Initially made just for Columbia students, the website has gone on to win awards and is known for the handy guidance from experts in fields ranging from medicine and public health to health education. Kudos.

9. University of Texas-Austin

Photo by pyxopotamus/Flickr.

This flagship institution has a very active student body. In 2002, Sports Illustrated called it the country's best sports college. Athletes from this UT have raked in an impressive 130 Olympic medals. (Some from current students — talk about extracurriculars!) Fortunately for the student body, UT-Austin is among the best colleges if you're sexually active, too. The school boasts a 24/7 nurse advice line and offers Sexual Assault Forensic Exams on campus.

10. University of Arizona

Photo via Ken Lund/Wikimedia Commons.

The Wildcats have plenty to boast about. The college has a beautiful campus that features an arboretum. It's also home to resources such as gender-confirming health care coverage and a class where students hold a Condom Olympics. And that picturesque campus? It served as the backdrop for the movie "Eating Out."

Sadly, there's no lack of schools that need a lot of improvement. The probation list includes Seton Hall University at #128, Texas Tech at #134, and Brigham Young University, which came in dead last at #140.

While some schools need to step up, the good news is that Trojan's survey has shown an overall trend of improvement in college sexual health resources across the country.

Now that's something to get excited about.

If ya know what I mean. ;) GIF from "Arrested Development."

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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