Ohio Wesleyan joins national initiative to support student mental health


Special to The Gazette - delnews@aimmediamidwest.com



Ohio Wesleyan University is joining JED Campus in support of student well-being and mental health. The nationwide program, part of The Jed Foundation (JED), is designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.

“Ohio Wesleyan is committed to providing students with access to the counseling and mental health services they need to succeed in the classroom and in life,” said Doug Koyle, OWU’s associate dean for student success.

“Becoming a JED Campus will help us to conduct an in-depth analysis of our students’ needs and to enhance our services, if needed, to provide the strongest possible mental health safety nets,” said Koyle, who is co-chairing the initiative with psychology professor Vicki DiLillo, Ph.D.

With support from JED Campus personnel, Ohio Wesleyan will embark this month on a multiyear strategic collaboration to assess and enhance work already being done as well as help the university to create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community.

John MacPhee, executive director and CEO of JED, said JED Campus provides its member schools with a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan, and ongoing support.

“The college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” MacPhee said. “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.”

Ohio Wesleyan’s membership in JED Campus begins with establishing an interdisciplinary, campus-wide team to assess, support, and implement program, policy, and system improvements and by completing a self-assessment survey on its mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention efforts. The effort will include surveying students on their mental-health-related wants and needs. All self-assessment responses and feedback reports are confidential.

After schools complete their assessment, JED Campus clinicians provide them with a comprehensive feedback report identifying successes and opportunities for enhancements. Over the next four years, Ohio Wesleyan will collaborate with JED to help implement desired changes. The university is joining the program thanks to an anonymous contribution from a set of OWU parents.

For more information about JED Campus, visit www.jedcampus.org. For information about Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of Counseling Services, visit www.owu.edu/counseling.

The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for the nation’s teens and young adults. JED equips this group with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other; partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems; and encourages community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health. Learn more at jedfoundation.org.

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Special to The Gazette

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