St. Lawrence University is furthering its support of student well-being and mental health by partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED) and their signature program JED Campus, a nationwide initiative designed to help colleges evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs to provide strong mental health support systems for students.
By becoming a JED Campus, St. Lawrence will embark on a multi-year strategic collaboration that will assess and enhance current mental health and well-being initiatives to create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community. The program will provide a framework for supporting student mental health, assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan, and ongoing support from the JED Campus team.
“We are extremely excited about this amazing partnership with JED,” said Vice President and Dean of Student Life Hagi Bradley. “St. Lawrence truly cares about the overall well-being of our students and our partnership with JED is a great way to strengthen protective factors for student mental health by developing student life skills and resilience, fostering connectedness and belonging, and promoting help-seeking behaviors. We are very grateful that we were able to build this partnership with the support of donations of our Laurentian alumni and family members, as well as the Merrill Lynch Foundation.”
During the Fall 2020 semester, Health and Counseling Services, Student Life, and the Wellness Community-Based Learning course partnered on programming that encouraged students to focus on self-care. The series offered bi-weekly “Mental Wellth” days which featured activities like yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy. In August 2021, the University created a Wellness Education office and hired Laura Lavoie as the University’s first Wellness Education manager.
Additional student mental health and well-being initiatives at St. Lawrence include a 24/7 counseling and crisis hotline, extended evening hours for counseling services, affinity groups for LGBTQ and BIPOC students, outreach that begins as soon as students arrive for their first-year on campus, and a trained student-athlete support network committed to the mental health and well-being of student-athletes.
“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 John MacPhee, CEO of JED. “JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their university is doing to support their student's 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.”
As a four-year partner with JED Campus, St. Lawrence will establish an interdisciplinary, campus-wide team to assess, support, and implement program, policy, and system improvements, as well as complete a confidential, self-assessment survey on its mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention efforts. Upon completion of the assessment, JED Campus clinicians will provide comprehensive feedback that will identify successes and opportunities for enhancements at St. Lawrence.