Statewide scaling of mental health and suicide prevention initiatives will support Texas youth and foster a community of care.
[May 15, 2023-Texas and New York] — The Jed Foundation (JED), the leading national nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults, announced today that it is the recipient of a $1 million grant from the WoodNext Foundation, created through the philanthropy of tech innovator and Roku CEO/Founder, Anthony Wood, and his wife, Susan. WoodNext Foundation is a component fund administered by Greater Houston Community Foundation. The grant allows JED to scale its schools-based mental health systems work in Texas. JED will help local high schools and colleges assess and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention policies, programs, and systems in order to better serve the needs of all students.
In Texas, 15 million residents live in a community without access to mental health professionals; today, it ranks last in the U.S. for access to mental health services. Since 2018, the youth suicide rate has risen by more than 9%.
“Improving mental health support and access to mental health care for teens and young adults helps them to live fulfilling and healthy lives,” said Nancy Chan, WoodNext Foundation’s Executive Director. “The Jed Foundation has proven its ability to move the needle forward in normalizing mental health through their transformative policies and programs. This partnership will help bring mental health support and suicide prevention services to Texas schools.”
JED, which is headquartered in New York City, will deploy a preliminary team of three employees to Texas later this year. The regionally-based schools support team will include a Regional Program Director to oversee statewide operations, a School Mental Health Specialist who will support preK-12 district programming that includes JED High School, and a JED Campus Advisor to focus on secondary and higher education activities, mental health, and youth technical assistance
“JED is expanding its presence across the country to help more high schools, colleges, universities, and communities support the mental health of young people. This generous grant from WoodNext will enable JED to serve as a critical partner in driving scalable, systemic change in Texas by designating a team of school mental health experts to focus on protecting the emotional well-being of the region’s secondary and higher education student population,” said John MacPhee, JED’s Chief Executive Officer. “Anthony and Susan Wood’s dedication to mental health awareness and suicide prevention will undoubtedly impact young Texans today and future generations.”
A special focus will be placed on secondary and higher education students who are under-represented, including people of color, LQBTQ youth, and rural youth. JED will also help equip adults in schools and communities through various workshops for school staff, caregivers, and community-based organization staff who work with teens and young adults.
The need for comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention efforts within school communities is clear. The CDC reports that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 10- to 34-year-olds. Nearly three-quarters of teens experiencing serious depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Researchers have long confirmed the efficacy of implementing comprehensive mental health systems in schools, which have been shown to promote improved student well-being and outcomes while strengthening school climate and safety.
Approximately 36 million students are enrolled in high schools, colleges, and universities across the country with more than 7 million in Texas. JED works with more than 500 high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States across 40 states (including the District of Columbia), serving 5.5 million students, or nearly 16% of the secondary and higher education student population.
JED’s school programs, JED Campus and JED High School, are rooted in the evidence-based Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention that has been proven effective in creating cultures of care and positively impacting behaviors and attitudes related to mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention.
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.Connect with JED: Email | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn | Pinterest | TikTok
About The WoodNext Foundation
The WoodNext Foundation manages the philanthropy of tech innovator and Roku CEO/Founder, Anthony Wood, and his wife Susan. Their philanthropic efforts are guided by their overall mission to advance human progress and remove obstacles to a fulfilling life. The WoodNext Foundation’s priorities include mental health, homelessness, scientific and biomedical research, disaster recovery, and economic opportunity with a focus on addressing root causes. WoodNext supports regional, national, and international efforts. As the Woods have strong ties to Texas, WoodNext’s domestic grant making has a particular focus on strengthening communities across the southern United States.
Director, Public Relations
The Jed Foundation