Transitioning into adulthood can bring big changes and intense challenges, and Plymouth State University is acting proactively to better serve students. PSU is partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED), a national nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, in a collaboration now underway.
In November, undergraduates participated in JED’s Healthy Minds Study, which provided a baseline on the University’s programs, systems, and challenges related to mental health. A JED consultant subsequently visited campus, met with student leaders, and reviewed the survey results with a dedicated task force.
“This is the beginning of a comprehensive process,” says Interim Vice President Marlin Collingwood. “A leadership team that involves every aspect of campus is working with JED to craft specific recommendations that we plan to implement.”
The program is specifically designed for higher education and pays particular attention to the emotional needs of this population. “PSU is part of a complex, national trend of increased use of mental health services, and we’re responding to that need,” says Dean of Students Jeff Furlone. “Our ‘Stamping Out Stigma’ student group is one of many ways that awareness is being raised, and we’re making students and staff more aware of what to watch for when a peer may need help.”
A JED update will be shared with the campus community early in the spring semester. The collaboration will continue for the next three years and is provided via a generous grant from the JED Foundation. When completed, PSU will be only the second certified JED Campus in New Hampshire.
■ Peter Lee Miller