Advocating for healthy futures

JED advocates for federal and state policies that intersect with our vision of a future where every high school and college has a comprehensive system that supports emotional health for all students and reduces the risks of substance misuse and suicide. We want all teens and young adults to be equipped to navigate mental health challenges — and to seek and give help — while being emotionally prepared to enter adulthood and fulfill their potential.

Building healthy lives

Our advocacy efforts seek to improve mental health and suicide prevention knowledge, programs, and environments, with an emphasis on secondary and higher education institutions and the students they serve. Given the critical role that academic institutions play in the lives of teens and young adults, it’s imperative that schools receive the necessary funding, resources, and knowledge to support student mental well-being. We strive for a world where mental health is recognized as a part of general health and wellness and isn’t associated with shame, secrecy, or prejudice and where communities support the emotional well-being and mental health of teens and young adults.

Our Policy Domains

JED’s policy domains include but are not limited to:

Comprehensive Mental Health and Suicide Prevention School Policies
Evaluation and implementation of comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention planning (prevention, intervention, and postvention) in school settings.

Awareness and Education
Training school staff and students on mental health and suicide prevention with a focus on developing life skills and resilience. Promoting help-seeking behavior, fostering social connectedness, and helping identify people who may be struggling to refer them to appropriate care.

Equitable Access to Mental Health Services
Ensuring that high schools and colleges/universities provide adequate and equitable mental health services to all students, including the availability of trained and culturally responsive counselors, and academic and non-academic staff to meet the diverse needs of the student population.

Providing safe, supportive, and positive accommodations in schools for young adults with mental health conditions and learning differences so that they can excel academically, socially, and emotionally.

Culturally Responsive Support
Through mentorship, empowerment, and social connectedness, offering culturally responsible support for students at higher risk of adverse mental health outcomes, including (but not limited to) those who may identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, gender non-conforming, and undocumented.

Financially supporting schools for emotional/mental health and suicide prevention purposes to help them develop and implement a Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention. This also includes the ability to bring in outside experts to help provide online resources, awareness campaign materials, advice and consultation, and training opportunities.

Examples of Legislation & Policies that JED Supports

Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 1803 – Rep. Tony Cárdenas)
This bill would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program to promote comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention efforts in high schools.

The Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act (H.R. 5407 – Rep. Susan Wild)
This bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate with the Health and Human Services Secretary to encourage institutions of higher education to implement comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention plans. These comprehensive plans will align with the recommendations of the supported Suicide Prevention Resource Center strategies, specifically its nine-part Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention.

Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment Act or TREAT Act (S.4421 – Sen. Chris Murphy)
The TREAT Act would allow practitioners with valid licenses to provide services, including telehealth services, in all states for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Higher Education Mental Health Act (S.1204 – Sen. Bob Casey)
This bill would authorize the Secretary of Education to establish a national advisory commission on supporting students with mental health disabilities in institutions of higher education. A report will be sent to the Secretary of Education, outlining present challenges and making recommendations for improving educational quality and increasing opportunities for these students.

Barriers to Suicide Act (H.R.4309 – Rep. Don Beyer)
This bill would require the Department of Transportation to create a grant program for state and local governments to fund nets and barriers on bridges, which have been demonstrated to be an evidence-based suicide deterrent. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office must conduct a study that explores the effectiveness of nets and barriers for structures other than bridges.

Mental health considered in short- and long-term legislative coronavirus legislation
Signed onto a letter circulated by Well Being Trust and the Trust for America’s Health sent to Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader of the House Kevin McCarthy in March 2020.

Tell your elected officials that the time to support Teen and Young Adult Mental Health is NOW!

Click here to write to them and introduce yourself as an advocate for our nation’s teens and young adults.

Check out our Full Policy Platform to learn more about JED’s advocacy efforts or email us: