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HCC Joins Jed

DATE: Friday, October 9, 2020

The national network helps colleges strengthen mental health support servivces for students

HCC campus shows fall foliage

On the eve of World Mental Health Day, Holyoke Community College is pleased to announce that it has joined the JED Campus network in support of student well-being and mental health.

Jed Campus is a nationwide initiative of the New York-based Jed Foundation designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.

HCC was also one of six schools nationwide selected for an inaugural scholarship from the Jed Foundation to strengthen student support programs promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

"This is a critical time for young people in our nation as they cope with the current pandemic, ongoing issues around racial equity, and the regular pressures of transitioning into adulthood," said John MacPhee, executive director and CEO of the Jed Foundation. "We believe that working with high schools, colleges, and universities to invest in real-life systems that strengthen mental health safety nets and foster a community of caring for students is more important than ever. By joining JED Campus, HCC is demonstrating a commitment to the emotional well-being of its students."

JED campuses embark on a multi-year strategic collaboration that not only assesses and enhances the work that is already being done but also helps create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community. JED Campus advisors work closely with these schools through a collaborative process of comprehensive systems, programs, and policy assessment with customized support to build upon each institution's existing structures. 

HCC's Jed Campus team includes students, faculty and staff. The $20,000 scholarship will remediate a large portion of the Jed Campus fees. 

World Mental Health Day is observed every year on Oct. 10.

"Mental health concerns continue to rise among young people and college students, particularly now as we remain in the throes of a pandemic," said Rachel Rubinstein, HCC vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. "As a Hispanic Serving Institution, with students who are predominantly first-generation, low-income, or people of color, our students are particularly vulnerable to the health and economic effects of the pandemic, and the mental health of our regional communities is of profound concern to us. The foundation's gift, along with the expertise and guidance of JED advisors, will help us make the sustainable change that is needed to support our students' well-being and success."

Last month, the Jed Foundation announced the launch of its $1 million Morgan Stanley Scholarship Fund to enable higher education institutions serving students from low-income and diverse backgrounds to participate in JED Campus.JED is a founding nonprofit partner organization of the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health, which brings together key leaders in the children's mental health space and combines the resources and reach of Morgan Stanley and its foundation to help address children's mental health concerns and the far-reaching challenges of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The alliance seeks to drive impact for young people – especially in marginalized populations – by assisting youth through formative transitions, and helping parents recognize mental health disorders and support their children.

Six colleges were selected as the inaugural scholarship recipients for fall 2020: Holyoke Community College, Frederick Community College of Maryland, Spartanburg Community College of South Carolina, St. Thomas University of Florida, Towson University of Maryland, and the University of Missouri.

"HCC is committed to providing the most comprehensive mental health resources possible to our students," said Tony Sbalbi, HCC dean of Students. "Our partnership with the JED Foundation could not have been timelier given the added stress and anxiety COVID-19 has placed on students these past several months. HCC's JED Campus interdisciplinary team looks forward to working with our dedicated JED advisor in the development of a mental health strategic plan that will help to enhance our already existing resources and furnish us with a road map for the future." 

"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 MacPhee. "JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their 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."

For more information about JED Campus, visit www.jedcampus.org.



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