A Comprehensive Approach to College Mental Health is a Campus-wide Approach

May 13, 2024

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Title: A Decade of Improving College Mental Health Systems: JED Campus Impact Report  

Authors: Kristelle Aisaka, Cameron Colgate, Niko Komrosky, Michelle Mullen, Kim Greene, and Whitney Becker

Source: The Jed Foundation

The Jed Foundation has released a report on a decadelong study investigating patterns of student mental health improvements when campuses participated in the JED Campus program. JED Campus is designed to guide schools through a collaborative process of developing comprehensive systems, programs, policies, and customized supports to build upon existing student mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention efforts. Drawing from 2013-2023 data from JED Campus schools and the Healthy Minds Network survey, the report reveals improvements in student mental health and system-level gains.

Primarily, the report reveals a significant decline in suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts among students attending institutions that participated in JED Campus. Schools participating in the program saw that students were 25 percent less likely to report a suicide attempt, 13 percent less likely to report suicide planning, and 10 percent less likely to report suicidal ideation.

JED developed a strategic plan with each participating institution based on its Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention for Colleges and Universities. The strategic plans provide recommendations for a comprehensive approach to the mental struggles of students at a particular school. The report finds that students at schools that made progress toward implementing their strategic plan see:

  • Decreased preconceived notions and bias about mental health treatment
  • An improvement in anxiety and depression scores
  • Even lower rates of suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts
  • Higher student flourishing scores

The report establishes that JED Campus leaders are more likely to report that emotional health is seen as a campus-wide issue with meaningful involvement from multiple departments and stakeholders rather than the responsibility of one department. Identifying students at risk, destigmatizing mental health struggles, partnering with substance abuse services, and creating postvention plans for success are all identified as campus-wide efforts to support mental health.

Tackling college mental health has a far-reaching impact, including increased likelihood of retention, long-term economic success, and increased life span. An emphasis on campus-wide commitment to student mental health is the key to obtaining these impacts.

To read the full report and access more insights, please click here.

—Eliza Gonzalez

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