The University of Michigan has joined JED Campus, a four-year initiative to assess and strengthen student well-being and mental health work currently underway across the Ann Arbor campus.
Through the national JED Campus program, an initiative of the Jed Foundation, U-M will engage in a discovery process to identify existing strengths and areas for improvement across the university’s suite of mental health services and infrastructure.
The systematic review is one of several assessment tools U-M receives through the partnership and culminates in a strategic plan and framework to enhance mental health services for students.
“JED’s commitment to the mental health of teens and young adults aligns with our aspirations to be evidence-based and public health-informed in our approach to supporting student mental health and well-being,” said Lindsey Mortenson, Student Life’s chief mental health officer and associate executive director for University Health Services.
The Jed Foundation is a national leader in establishing best practices and policies on student mental health, suicide prevention and substance misuse.
The first significant action of the initiative begins Oct. 18, when 12,000 randomly selected U-M undergraduate and graduate students will receive an invitation to participate in the Healthy Minds Study. Based in the School of Public Health, the Healthy Minds Study is fielded annually at colleges and schools to examine mental health service use and related challenges.
At U-M, selected students can anonymously share their perspectives on the university’s existing mental health promotion, substance use and suicide prevention efforts.
Survey findings, along with a review of the university’s existing mental health services and policies, will inform a strategic plan that will include recommendations to implement program, policy and systemwide improvements.
Other key actions occurring in the first year include assembling an implementation team to support future recommended practices.
U-M’s participation in JED Campus, and the program’s focus on creating sustained and systemic change in the campus community, is aligned with the university’s commitment, through the Okanagan Charter, to become a health-promoting campus. Adopted in fall 2021, the Okanagan Charter is a foundational piece of the university’s Well-being Collective.
“Our partnership with JED Campus complements and deepens our work through the Well-being Collective,” said Robert Ernst, chief health officer, executive director of UHS and associate vice president for health and wellness in Student Life.
“While JED Campus specifically focuses on the dimension of emotional and mental health, this work will strengthen our work across the other seven dimensions of well-being.”
The Well-being Collective, spearheaded by Student Life and the Office of the Provost, provides a strategic and comprehensive infrastructure to address the complex health and wellness needs of faculty, staff and students.