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Rutgers University Joins Initiative to Strengthen Student Mental Health

Rutgers University has joined a nationwide initiative to strengthen programs and systems against mental health issues on campus, the school said in a release.

The university joined The JED Foundation’s initiative that will help the school to strengthen its mental health safety nets by evaluating its mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.

Under the initiative, the university will get assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan to strengthen the emotional health and well-being of students.

“We have been addressing the mental health and substance abuse awareness of our students for years. But we know there’s more we can do,” said Melodee Lasky, assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness for the Division of Student Affairs.

As a part of the initiative, over the next four years, the university will collaborate with the non-profit to undertake confidential surveys that will access the mental health promotion, substance use, and suicide prevention efforts. The school will receive support from a dedicated campus adviser who provides consultation, guidance, and resources to accomplish the goals.

JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their university is doing to support their students’ emotional health and find practical ways to augment these efforts in a comprehensive way,” said John MacPhee, executive director of JED.

A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 70 percent of U.S. teens, ages 13 to 17, believe that anxiety and depression are major problems among people their age in the communities where they live.

At the same time, 61 percent of students cited getting good grades as a major cause of pressure. Another 29 percent felt pressure to look good, 28 percent to fit in socially, and 21 percent see being good at sports as a cause of pressure.

Recently, many universities across the nation have become more focused on student mental health and well-being. Earlier this year, the University of Kentucky created a task force comprised of senior officials to review its mental health counseling services provided to students on campus.

Last year, in a similar move, Brown University announced plans to build a state-of-the-art comprehensive health and wellness center to provide physical, mental and emotional care services to its university community as well.

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