Focus On Mental Health
Posted on March 20, 2023
With a continued commitment to student well-being, the University of South Alabama is proud to announce that it has been accepted to become a JED Campus. The JED Foundation is a nonprofit that works with educational institutions to prevent suicide, substance abuse and self-harm, and to strengthen the emotional and mental health of their students.
South is the first institution of higher education in Alabama to become a JED Campus, joining a network of nearly 400 other colleges and universities across the nation who have participated in the initiative.
The JED Foundation’s four-year campus program will include an assessment of students’ mental health issues and needs, creation and implementation of a strategic plan to address those needs, and regular consultations with the JED Foundation throughout the process.
The first step in this new initiative will be forming a campus-wide, interdisciplinary task force including staff, faculty and students who will lead the effort in policy development and formation of comprehensive systems within the University to sustainably support USA students’ mental health.
"This is an amazing opportunity for our community at USA,” said Dr. Mike Mitchell, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “I am excited to have our University be an important part of the growing national conversation around mental health and suicide prevention."
The COVID-19 pandemic era ushered in a new set of challenges for youth, with the United States surgeon general declaring it a crisis in 2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, in the 10 years leading up to the pandemic, feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness — as well as suicidal thoughts and behaviors — increased by about 40 percent among young people.
Research shows that building resiliency and life skills, promoting social connectedness and encouraging teens and young adults to seek help protects their mental and emotional health, making it less likely they will fall into unhealthy behaviors.
The JED Foundation was founded in 2000 by Phil and Donna Satow after they lost their youngest son Jed to suicide. Although suicide was and continues to be a leading cause of death among young adults, schools had no uniform model for preventing suicide. The Jed Foundation’s goal is to overcome these hurdles and launch a blueprint for prevention. Today, JED is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to young adult mental health.
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