The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is one of only five schools in the state to partner with the Jed Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing suicide, reducing substance abuse and improving well-being among teenagers and young adults. UNCSA received a $30,000 Behavioral Health Grant from the University of North Carolina System in January 2018 to create a comprehensive strategic plan for mental health services on campus over the next four years.

As the country observes National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, faculty and staff members at UNCSA will meet with consultants from the New York-based foundation to assess the welfare of students on campus. Students have completed JED’s Healthy Minds Survey and faculty and staff have completed an internal survey to provide baseline information for the assessment.

The Jed Foundation was created by Donna and Phil Satow, who lost their youngest son, Jed, to suicide in 1998.

“The college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” said John MacPhee, executive director of the Jed Foundation. “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. We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier communities, and likely greater student retention.”

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Originally published September 10, 2018.