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University at Albany Honored by the Jed Foundation for Comprehensive Mental Health Programming

UAlbany among First Colleges and Universities in Nation to be Recognized

UAlbany has been cited by The Jed Foundation for its progressive mental health support system. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 2, 2013) -- The University at Albany has been awarded the JedCampus Seal from The Jed Foundation, an organization which developed the first nationwide program to facilitate a school’s ability to assess and enhance a campus-wide mental health support system. One of only 25 campuses nationwide to receive this honor, UAlbany is acknowledged for its comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming.

This recognition comes of the heels of President Obama’s call for enhanced mental health programs as more than 21 percent of college students have reported receiving a psychiatric diagnosis or were treated for mental health issues such as depression or eating disorders in the past year.

“Many students attend colleges and universities with complex challenges that may potentially affect their academic success, work productivity, and capacity to flourish in other life areas," said Robert J. Jones, president of the University at Albany. "As a progressive institution of higher education that has played a key role in informing national-level best practices in prevention and intervention, we recognize the significance of supporting our students and providing a comprehensive network of programs and services to foster the attainment of their academic, work, and life goals."

Since 2005, UAlbany has been implementing a comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention program funded in part by two grants from the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Program of the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Focus areas include the education of the campus community on warning signs for suicide and the promotion of good mental health, early mental health screening and referral of students in distress, and training and education of the campus community about resources for on-campus support. The University’s comprehensive program has led to increases in service utilization and earlier referral of students to vital on-campus mental health services.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce the first schools in the nation to receive the JedCampus Seal. Schools like the University at Albany have shown they employ a comprehensive, community-based approach to mental health care which will result in the identification of and care for more at-risk students,” said John MacPhee, executive director of The Jed Foundation. “We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health promotion will lead to safer, healthier campuses, and possibly greater student retention.”

Leading higher education and mental health professional organizations including the American College Counseling Association, American College Health Association, National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, among others, have provided statements of support for the JedCampus initiative.

As part of the consideration process, UAlbany participated in a voluntary, online self-assessment review of their campus mental health and suicide prevention programming. The Jed Foundation then compared the school’s responses to the recommended practices outlined in The Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention on College and University Campuses developed by The Jed Foundation and Suicide Prevention Resource Center. UAlbany received confidential feedback designed to help enhance its programming and resources.

The Jed Foundation only publicly recognizes those schools awarded the Seal. Names, survey responses and feedback reports of those schools that do not receive a Seal are confidential. If the self-assessment survey revealed gaps in programming, colleges and universities were invited to work closely with The Jed Foundation to address them. Those schools can reapply for the JedCampus Seal after one year and each honor is valid for two years.

Visit JedCampus for more information.

About The Jed Foundation
The Jed Foundation works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students. Our programs include: JedCampus, a self-assessment and feedback program designed to help colleges enhance mental health programming; ULifeline, an online mental health resource that gives students access to campus-specific resources and an anonymous mental health screener; Half of Us, the Peabody Award-winning campaign with mtvU, which uses online and on-air programming to decrease stigma and encourage help-seeking; Love is Louder, a movement to build connectedness and increase resiliency; Transition Year, an online resource aimed at helping to ensure the smooth, safe and healthy transition of teenagers from high school to college; and a portfolio of resources that helps campuses promote mental health and protect at-risk students.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.