CGS & JED Release Evidence-Informed Recommendations and Resources to Support Graduate Student Mental Health & Well-being

Statement of principles and commitments endorsed by 150+ universities

Washington, DC – In recent years, climate surveys and research studies have demonstrated a critical need to  prioritize the mental health of postsecondary students, but little information exists about programs and services  designed to address the needs of master’s and doctoral students. Today, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)  and The Jed Foundation (JED) lead the way in addressing that gap with the release of data, resources, and  evidence-informed recommendations.

Their report, Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-being, contextualizes the urgency of this issue  and includes results from a CGS member survey, priority areas for future research, and examples of programs  aligned with key recommendations. The findings and recommendations summarized in the report are intended to  provide a starting point for discussion and action for all campus groups with a vested interest in the quality of  graduate education, including presidents and provosts, graduate deans, department chairs, faculty members,  graduate students, and funders. Also embedded in the report is a “Statement of Principles and Commitments of  Graduate Deans,” which provides institutions a blueprint for action to support the academic success and well being of all students. As of today, 150+ universities have endorsed the principles and commitments.

The release of the report marks the culmination of that 22-month project, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon  Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CGS and JED, along with a 14-person advisory committee with  expertise in the field and participants in an October 2020 virtual convening, provided input and information that  informed the report’s recommendations. The convening included graduate deans and students from 29 CGS  member universities, disciplinary society representatives, funders of graduate education, and researchers.

Key findings in the member survey provide a sense of how universities are currently approaching graduate student  mental health and well-being. While only 24% of graduate deans indicated their campus-wide strategic plan,  vision, or mission statement specifically references graduate students in the member survey, 49% noted that their  institutions have a taskforce or committee related to the emotional well-being of graduate students.

“Given the diversity of the graduate student population both in terms of life stage and career goals, considering  the unique needs of graduate students in campus mental health plans must be a priority,” said CGS President

Suzanne T. Ortega. “Establishing a shared set of values and a framework of principles and commitments is just the  first step toward creating more inclusive, supportive program and campus environments and ensuring more  equitable access to care. Our work with JED lays the foundation for future research on this critically important  topic.”

“The findings from this project will be instrumental in moving forward with efforts to promote graduate student  mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Nance Roy, chief clinical officer, The Jed Foundation and assistant clinical  professor, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine. The recommendations provide actionable steps to  support graduate student mental health as well as opportunities for future study. JED is proud to have partnered with CGS on this valuable work.”

About CGS 

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United  States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The  organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal  policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices. 

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, Public Relations

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