The Jed Foundation (JED) and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) Launch Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community

New partnership aims to advance educational success and enable students to thrive by reimagining state- and system-wide policies protecting youth mental health.

New York, August 31, 2023 — The Jed Foundation (JED), the nation’s leading nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) have launched a new learning community among state higher-education leaders committed to implementing whole student support for mental health. 

Over the next year, JED and SHEEO will debut the inaugural Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community focused on the development and implementation of state- and system-wide policy recommendations that bolster institutions’ ability to effectively promote and support student mental health and wellness. Five states will be selected for $25,000 planning grants to facilitate their participation and identify strategies that effectively support students of color and students from low-income circumstances who face systemic inequities and experience pronounced disparities in mental health-care access. 

“Just last year, 83% of college students reported that their emotional or mental health challenges hurt their academic performance. These feelings are often exacerbated for students of color and students from low-income circumstances who face barriers, including lack of equitable access to mental health care, that adversely impact enrollment, academic achievement, progression, and even completion,” said Sakshee Chawla, Senior Policy Analyst at SHEEO. “Together with JED, SHEEO will work to mitigate mental health inequities while promoting a just design that recognizes historic minoritization and alleviates systematic bias.”

“Higher education is intended to be a social mobilizer that not only offers young people an opportunity to learn, but also grow and create fulfilling lives,” said Dr. Zainab Okolo, Senior Vice President of Policy, Advocacy, and Government Relations at JED. “By informing and engaging our partners at SHEEO, together we can develop and deploy real systems change to remove access barriers to equitable mental health supports and create cultures of care on campuses across the country.”

Any state is eligible to apply. Requests for proposal will be accepted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22, 2023. States that are selected will participate in learning community events, including intensive technical assistance from JED and SHEEO that will take place between October 2023 and December 2024. Learn more about the partnership here.


The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) serves the executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education and their staffs. Founded in 1954, SHEEO promotes an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring the equitable education of all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic factors. Together with its members, SHEEO aims to achieve this vision by equipping state higher-education executive officers and their staffs with the tools to effectively advance the value of higher education, promoting public policies and academic practices that enable all Americans to achieve success in the 21st century, and serving as an advocate for state higher-education leadership. For more information, visit sheeo.org

About The Jed Foundation
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 | Snapchat | Pinterest

Media Contacts

Jessica Duren
Strategic Communications Director 
State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
(573) 291-9251

Justin Barbo
Director, Public Relations
The Jed Foundation
(914) 844-4611

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