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Support for Colleges To Assess and Enhance Mental Health Programming

Oct 16, 2014
By: John MacPhee, Executive Director and CEO, The Jed Foundation

In June 2013, The Jed Foundation answered the call to action to launch a national conversation to increase understanding and awareness about mental health.  In response, The Jed Foundation partnered with the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) to host online and on-campus town hall events and worked with Facebook and Instagram to create a more supportive online community.

As part of a larger partnership, The Jed Foundation and the CHMI joined forces to develop a new program to address two national health issues that are affecting college campuses across the country: mental health and substance abuse issues among college students.

  • Almost 1 in 4 of the nation’s college students meets the medical criteria for substance abuse.
  • Mental health and substance abuse issues affect every single college campus.
  • According to the 2013 American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment, more than half of college students have experienced "overwhelming anxiety"; about 32% of these students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some point in the past year.  

The Jed and Clinton Foundation Health Matters Campus Program (The Campus Program) is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional well-being and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide.

To participate in The Campus Program, schools make a four-year commitment to the program and take a confidential, online self-assessment about their current mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse programming, which is then compared to recommended practices. The Jed Foundation and CHMI then provide a confidential feedback report assessing the school’s current mental health and substance abuse programming and identifying potential opportunities for enhancement, followed by on-the-ground technical assistance with practical recommendations for enhancement of counseling protocols and related behavioral health prevention and treatment activities.

We all need to work together to support America’s 21 million college and university students. Together, we can begin a dialog to help ensure that our young adults are able to reach their full potential by improving programming for mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programming on campuses, and letting students know that help and support are available. Join us in this effort at Facebook.com/myhealthyu and learn how schools can participate in the Campus Program at thecampusprogram.org.

Want to comment on this article? Visit MentalHealth.org on Facebook or on Twitter to post your comments and start a conversation.

Tagged Suicide Prevention | Schools | Youth | Depression | National conversation on mental health initiative | Anxiety Disorders