Champlain Adopts a Nationwide Mental Health Program

The College has joined JED Campus, an initiative of the JED Foundation, to help evaluate and strengthen Champlain’s mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs.

“College is a time of enormous change, and these changes may impact our mental health,” says Skip Harris, Director of Counseling, Health & Wellness at Champlain. According to a national survey organized by the American College Health Association, the percentage of U.S. college students who have felt overwhelming anxiety at some point in the last year has risen to 66.4 from 58.6 in 2015. One in five young people aged 13 to 28 lives with mental health issues. Clearly student mental health and well-being is an urgent and growing issue, and the demand for mental health services is increasing.

Champlain has been investing heavily in areas that will enhance student success, health, and well-being. We recently hired a new Well-being & Success Coach who will help students access support within our academic divisions. We appointed a Dean of Students who will oversee student care and direct student services. We expanded our SMARTSpace academic support and coaching services and infused them with well-being programming. And this fall, Champlain launched the JED initiative that will assess and deliver a comprehensive public health approach to supporting the emotional well-being and success of our students.

JED Campus is a nationwide initiative of The JED Foundation which helps colleges evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools provide the strongest possible mental health safety nets.

“JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their college is doing to support their students’ emotional health and find practical ways to augment these efforts in a comprehensive way,” said John MacPhee, Executive Director of JED. “We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier communities.”

Over the next four years, Champlain will:

  • Collaborate with the JED Campus team to identify opportunities to enhance emotional health as well as substance use and suicide prevention efforts.
  • Complete an in-depth, confidential survey at the beginning of the program, and then again after three years to assess mental health promotion, substance use, and suicide prevention efforts.
  • Participate in a full-day, in-person campus visit with JED Campus staff to generate goals for improvement, and develop a strategic plan that serves as a roadmap over the course of the program.
  • Receive ongoing support from a dedicated campus advisor who provides consultation, guidance, and resources to help us achieve our goals.
  • Become a member of a nationwide network of JED Campus schools.
The JED Comprehensive Approach is based on what is known about how to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors for mental health and suicide among adolescents, college students, and the general population.

A key part of the initial assessment is an anonymous and confidential student survey that will gather information about mental health needs and mental health service utilization at Champlain. The survey is conducted online through the University of Michigan’s Healthy Minds Study (HMS). The information gathered will be analyzed by the JED Campus team to inform their work with the College over the next four years.

The Student Affairs and Institutional Diversity & Inclusion team encourages all students to complete the survey (and not just for a chance to win prizes and a pizza party for their residence hall!). Students who participate will be contributing in a meaningful and powerful way to promoting mental health and well-being on campus and beyond.

“We understand that students today face great challenges, and are impacted by their environment and all that is happening locally, nationally, and globally,” said Dr. Angela E. Batista, Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Diversity & Inclusion. “Champlain College and its community members are committed to supporting all students in a holistic manner as they navigate their college experience, achieve academic and personal success, and seek to grow emotionally.”

Any questions about the survey or the JED Campus initiative can be directed to Susan Waryck, Dean of Students, at deanofstudents@champlain.edu. For more information about JED Campus, visit jedcampus.org.

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