The University of Michigan is collaborating with national mental health program JED Campus to improve student wellbeing on campus, as announced in an Oct. 12 statement from the U-M Well-being Collective. The Jed Foundation is a suicide prevention nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the mental health of teenagers and young adults. JED Campus is an initiative of the Jed Foundation, which consults schools on mental health-related issues by helping the University evaluate student mental health, offering expert guidance on substance use, strategizing effective suicide prevention programs and promoting a stigma-free supportive environment.
Lindsey Mortenson, chief mental health officer of the University Health Service, told The Michigan Daily about the new partnership with JED Campus, saying that the University and the Jed Foundation share the goal of improving student mental health.
“JED strongly aligns with our aspirations to be evidence-based and public health-informed in our approach,” Mortenson said. “This is a four-year partnership and we are at the very beginning.”
The School of Public Health sent the Healthy Minds Study — an annual campus-wide mental health survey assessing students’ stress levels and emotional well-being — to 12,000 randomly-selected U-M students on Oct. 18 as a part of their new partnership with JED Campus. Survey participants could anonymously report their thoughts on the University’s mental health efforts and give feedback for improving on-campus mental health services.
In addition to the survey, the University has previously implemented several programs aimed at improving mental health services in the past couple of years, Mortenson explained.
“Some of the steps we have already taken include adopting the Okanagan Charter, establishing the Well-being Collective and compiling a comprehensive continuum of care for all the mental health resources available on campus and in our community,” Mortenson said. “We also expanded our agreement with Uwill, an online counseling service, so that all students now can access six free virtual counseling sessions.”
LSA senior Libby Engel told The Daily she thought the University needs to prioritize student mental health more than it already does.
“I think that both in a proactive way and reactive my university is kind of falling short,” Engel said. “The way classes are structured and the competitive culture here varying by major and school can create an environment and circumstances that’s really detrimental to mental health.”
On the other hand, LSA sophomore Isabelle Baumann told The Daily she appreciates how the University is actively working to support students’ mental health. She said she looks forward to seeing how the University will expand their mental health services in light of the new partnership with JED Campus.
“My professors make a point to put student mental health resources on their syllabi each semester and always talk about it,” Baumann said. “I know many people who have had wonderful experiences with (Counseling and Psychological Services). … I think (the) University does a good job of advertising that and making them available and known to the student body.”