Uniting for Youth: Insights From the JED Policy Summit on Student Mental Health
By Rebecca Bauer On October 30, 2023, more than 100 mental health experts, advocates, and allies gathered in Washington, D.C., for the JED Policy Summit: ...
Since partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED) in 2018, the University of Tampa has made a number of improvements to its mental health infrastructure. As is often the case, that journey to implementing stronger, more sustainable mental health programs fostered further positive outcomes for the student body.
Gina Firth, Assistant Vice President of the University of Tampa, explains that while working with JED, “We have recognized that mental health concerns are more nuanced across identity groups, and a variety of support is necessary, which led to the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Office. It is now fully staffed and led by a Chief Diversity Officer.”
The JED Campus framework provides all schools with assessment tools, feedback reports, technical assistance, and an overall framework for supporting students both on- and off-campus. Its mission includes implementing programs that support diverse student populations, in light of the fact that suicide disproportionately affects Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and LGBTQ youth. The University of Tampa’s creation of a DEI Office is a step forward in terms of fully and equitably supporting the mental health of all students.
Advancements on campus don’t stop there. As part of the JED Campus Program, The University of Tampa also administered the Healthy Minds Study to better assess student well-being and started strengthening its Spartan Support Program, which identifies and advises at-risk students. According to Firth, the school was able to “move people out of individual silos and create an interdisciplinary team consisting of senior administration, faculty, students, student affairs professionals, Campus Safety, and others to work on campus-wide strategies,” all of which will complement and sustain their four years of progress as a JED Campus.
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