Northwestern joins mental health program from Jed, Clinton foundations

Sophia Bollag, Web Editor

Northwestern has signed on to a new mental health initiative with more than 50 other colleges and universities, the founding non-profit organizations announced Wednesday.

The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program aims to prevent suicide and fatal drug overdoses on college campuses. Schools in the program have pledged to work with the initiative for four years to increase mental health, suicide prevention and substance abuse programming and will use assessment tools provided by the program to evaluate these efforts.

The program is a partnership of The Jed Foundation, an organization that promotes mental health and suicide prevention on college campuses, and the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic organization of former president Bill Clinton and his family.

“The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program 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,” John MacPhee, executive director of The Jed Foundation, said in a news release. “We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier campuses.”

Last academic year, the University was already planning to work with the framework provided by The Jed Foundation’s JedCampus initiative to gauge its mental health resources, John Dunkle, executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services, told The Daily last fall. That framework also addressed mental health as a campus-wide issue, not one confined to CAPS, Dunkle added.

“As I’ve said all along, addressing mental health and suicide prevention on a campus is a community issue, not just a counseling center (issue),” Dunkle told The Daily last fall.

According to The Jed Foundation’s website, The Campus Program was launched June 2014 as the foundation’s new initiative to help colleges and universities improve their mental health resources.

To begin the program, universities will conduct a self-assessment of their existing mental health and substance abuse prevention tactics. The Campus Program will provide participating universities will customized feedback based on their self-evaluations.

Representatives from CAPS could not be reached for comment about NU’s involvement in The Campus Program.

Jeanne Kuang contributed reporting.

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