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Oct 06, 2021

CSCU Joins JED Campus to Support Student Mental Health

CSCU Institutions to Assess and Enhance Mental Health Services, and Substance Use and Suicide Prevention Efforts in Partnership with Jed Foundation

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) is furthering its support of student well-being and mental health by joining JED Campus, a nationwide program of The Jed Foundation (JED), designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.

JED Campus is a four-year program that assesses and enhances work already being done on college campuses, and helps create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community. All 17 CSCU institutions will embark on the multi-year collaboration with JED Campus that will provide a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan, and ongoing support from the JED Campus team.

This collaboration is made possible through a $350,000 grant awarded to JED by the KKR Relief Effort and more than $100,000 in additional private funds through JED's Morgan Stanley Scholarship Fund. The KKR Grant is administered by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

“CSCU is excited about this partnership that will allow us to build upon CSCU’s existing student mental health support systems and implement enhancements,” said CSCU President Terrence Cheng. “Our CSCU institutions are committed to student well-being and providing students with the mental health and counseling services they need to succeed in the classroom and for a healthy and safe campus community.”

“The college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” said John MacPhee, CEO of JED. “JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their college or university is doing to support their students’ emotional health and find practical ways to augment these efforts in a comprehensive way. We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier communities, and likely greater student retention.”

“JED’s programs provide a critical safety net for vulnerable individuals and we are pleased that our KKR Grant is supporting this collaboration between JED and CSCU,” said Ken Mehlman, Partner at KKR. “Young people are the future and we benefit greatly as a society when students are educated in an environment that promotes positive emotional health.”

Housatonic Community College has been engaged in the JED Campus program since 2019, and CSCU will build upon these efforts as the program is implemented at all 12 CSCU community colleges and four regional universities.

Lesley Mara, CSCU Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sponsored Research and Outreach, will coordinate and oversee system-wide work to ensure that each institution is supported and efforts are coordinated with sharing resources, promising practices, and professional development.

Each campus will be assigned a JED Campus Advisor to provide support, technical assistance and access to JED’s online Learning Community and resources. JED programs and resources were developed to ensure that student equity and the needs of marginalized and/or underrepresented students are addressed.

Using JED’s evidence-based Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention framework, each institution will assess available mental health resources, then administer and implement the Healthy Minds Survey to hear directly from students. The survey measures students’ attitudes, behaviors and awareness on emotional well-being and substance use issues. The schools will then prioritize, plan and implement a customized approach to strengthen policies, programs and systems to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors for mental health issues and suicide.

This funding comes at an opportune time as House Bill 6402, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in January 2021, places a number of new requirements on CSCU institutions, including the creation of mental health coalitions at each campus comprised of key stakeholders to assess existing services in order to develop a strategic plan to address any identified weaknesses or gaps by January 2022.

The JED Campus program fulfills all major components of this law and will provide the campuses with subject matter expertise and technical assistance for four years. For more information about JED Campus, visit jedfoundation.org/jed-campus.

About The Jed Foundation (JED)

The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for the nation’s teens and young adults. JED equips this group with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other; partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems; and encourages community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health. Learn more at jedfoundation.org.

About Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) provide affordable, innovative and rigorous programs for students to achieve their personal and career goals as well as contribute to the economic growth of Connecticut through its four universities, 12 community colleges, and the state's only online college. Learn more at ct.edu.