On February 21, students took an anonymous and confidential health survey during their advisory period. In an email to the student body, Dean of Health and Wellness Amy Patel described the Independent School Health Check (ISHC) that Andover participated in as a survey that would “help Andover adults learn more about the issues students face, their thoughts and feelings about a variety of health-related topics, and more.”
The Independent School Health Check is used by middle and high schools to evaluate behavior and attitude, assessing factors such as nutrition and sleep, school connection, social life, alcohol and substance use, parental engagement, and academic pressure.
Wooba Song ’26 commented on his appreciation that Andover is taking measures to investigate further the mental health and overall welfare of the students. He hopes that the school will be able to look at the responses from the student and design solutions to the specific problems that students face.
“I think the health survey was a pretty solid attempt at gauging the overall mental health problems that Andover students struggle with. It covered quite a lot of topics and I think was adequate for its purpose, but I think some of the answer options were unintuitive and the wording of some questions left a certain degree of ambiguity that could be addressed in future surveys. I hope that the school is able to provide more mental health resources that are designed to help address the specific struggles that Andover students face the most,” said Song.
The survey, which was created in a partnership between the National Association of Independent Schools and the Indiana University Center for Survey Research, contains responses from over 27,000 students across 73 high schools. Sebastian Cynn ’24 noted that the survey provided opportunities for Andover to compare mental health levels with other high schools and acted as a strong start in addressing the mental health challenges across campus.
“I think the survey was a good start, especially to compare ourselves with other schools and to get data through a 3rd party source. It provides a way for us to check with the schools around us and to find ways we can be better. The questionnaire itself was outdated and not made for boarding schools, so that might limit its use, but it’s a great place to begin a discussion about how we can improve in regard to mental health. It definitely didn’t cover the breadth of mental health challenges on this campus nor was it even geared towards this campus in the first place. But I hope it inspires a hard look at where we are and which policies can be changed,” said Cynn.
The Phillipian reached out to Amy Patel for more information, but Patel did not respond in time.