As Mental Health Issues and Suicide Rates Climb, EVERFI Launches New Courses to Help Colleges and Universities Support Students During Transitional Period

Survey data finds students more likely to turn to friends for help and support, but majority of students lack training related to mental health.

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–EVERFI, Inc., the leading social impact education innovator, today announced that it has furthered its commitment to the emotional and physical health and safety of college students nationwide with the launch of a new course focused on mental health and the release of a fully redesigned version of its widely-used alcohol misuse prevention course.

In light of a shared mission to promote student safety, emotional health, and wellness, EVERFI and The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading nonprofit that exists to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide among our nation’s teens and young adults, partnered to co-develop the new Mental Well-Being for Studentscourse.

A population-level digital learning course on student mental wellness, Mental Well-Being for Students is designed to support colleges and universities in their efforts to provide students with the tools and resources needed to overcome challenges and thrive while on campus. Mental wellness experts from JED were involved in the development of the new course to identify key topics, review course content and terminology, and suggest strategies and skills to share with students.

As part of EVERFI’s commitment to uphold the most advanced standards in prevention education, it is also releasing a completely updated and revised version of the popular AlcoholEdu for College course. Taken by approximately half a million incoming college freshmen every year, AlcoholEdu is the most effective population-level online prevention course in the higher education market, with eight efficacy studies demonstrating measurable impact. The revamped AlcoholEdu course reflects current best practices in prevention education and includes new content related to marijuana use and vaping.

Growing Suicide Rates

According to research published in the medical journal JAMA in June 2019, “the suicide rate at ages 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years increased in 2017 to its highest point since 2000, with a recent increase especially in males and in ages 15 to 19 years.” Further, according to the Healthy Minds Network, 76 percent of students feel they have a responsibility to help friends who are struggling. EVERFI student survey data finds that while 45 percent of incoming college students are most likely to turn to their friends for help and support, the majority of their classmates have not received any training to help equip them to respond effectively (with only 8.7 percent of students having received any training related to mental health).

In Mental Well-Being for Students, EVERFI and JED aim to:

  • Reduce stigma, shame, prejudice, and uncertainty surrounding mental health and help-seeking, and promote conversations and actions to foster well-being.
  • Introduce strategies for approaching challenges, including self-management, self-advocacy, and building a support system.
  • Empower learners to support peers in crisis situations.
  • Connect learners with campus-based support and local resources.

Mental Well-Being for Students helps young adults prioritize mental health by offering tools and resources to help recognize and manage concerns, and find support for themselves and their peers,” said John MacPhee, executive director and chief executive officer of JED. “At JED, we aim to equip young people with the knowledge and support they need to navigate challenges and to thrive. We are thrilled to have partnered with EVERFI on the development of this course.”

Mental Well-Being for Students is a 45-minute course comprised of four modules that use a combination of text, video, audio, and interactivity to engage learners and foster impact. The course is available for two- and four-year institutions of higher education beginning this fall.

Expanding AlcoholEdu to Include New Topic Areas

AlcoholEdu for College, the leading prevention course on alcohol and substance misuse for college students, encourages learners to make positive decisions related to drinking and other drug use. Incorporating revisions based on feedback from students, colleges and universities, the course is being updated to feature point-of-view interviews with students and experts, and to focus on revised and expanded behavioral outcomes that are more inclusive of the growing number of students who abstain or are in recovery. Additionally, the inclusion of new content centered around vaping and marijuana use is based on a dramatic increase in vaping among youth and a decreased belief amongst students of the perceived risk of marijuana as well as a rise in marijuana’s availability.

The vaping content will include information on the harmful effects of smoking and vaping and will explore common misperceptions about the health and safety of using e-cigarettes. The new cannabis content will focus on the legal status of cannabis — with specific attention to:

  • The impact of federal laws on college campuses in states that have legalized the use of cannabis;
  • The physical and psychological effects of cannabis;
  • Unhealthy use of cannabis; and
  • How to support peer decisions not to use cannabis, tobacco, or other drugs.

“The feedback we received from the members of our Campus Prevention Network, along with the data, is overwhelmingly clear that we needed to support students better during the transition to college and prepare them to serve as a sounding board for friends,” said Craig Chanoff, president, Higher Education, EVERFI. “While drinking amongst Generation Z is at an all-time low, alcohol misuse remains at epidemic levels on college campuses and research has found that nearly 30 percent of college student attrition is driven by alcohol and other drug-related problems. However, prevention efforts, and in particular, our AlcoholEdu course, have shown to produce statistically significant reductions in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems.”

Intended to be used by institutions of higher education of all types, AlcoholEdu for College is designed for incoming, first-year undergraduate college students. Many colleges and universities that use AlcoholEdu require incoming students to complete the course before moving onto campus. The refreshed version of the course, which will be available later this summer, will include new bystander intervention scenarios, videos sharing student, and expert perspectives on key topics, and updated course pathing to ensure the content resonates with the diversity of experiences and identities of today’s students. This revamped version of the course comes on the heels of the AlcoholEdu for Ongoing Students course which was released in the fall of 2018.


EVERFI is the leading education technology company that provides learners of all ages education for the real world, through innovative and scalable digital learning including topics like Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, STEM Career Readiness, Diversity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Character Education, and Health and Wellness. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model and has reached over 30 million learners in critical skill areas. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, Advance Publications, Rethink Education, and Rethink Impact. The EVERFI Education Network powers more than 3,500 partners in their education initiatives across all 50 states and Canada. To learn more about EVERFI visit everfi.com or follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter @EVERFI.

About The Jed Foundation (JED)

JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.

Learn more at jedfoundation.org. Check out our programs including: JED Campus (jedcampus.org), Set to Go, ULifeline (ulifeline.org), Half of Us (halfofus.com), Love is Louder (loveislouder.com), and Seize the Awkward (seizetheawkward.org).

Connect with JED:  EmailTwitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Manuela McDonough
Director, Media Relations

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text HOME to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, text or call 988.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.