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JED Campus Program Helps SHAC Increase Efforts Around Student Wellness

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on October 11, 2019

Over the last four years, USciences Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) has refocused its efforts around health promotion, suicide and substance abuse prevention, and created a wellness-focused community mindset on campus. While many of these efforts may have happened regardless, many were aided by the University’s participation in the JED Campus

JED Campus is a national effort designed to guide schools through a collaborative process of comprehensive systems, program and policy development with customized support to build upon existing student mental health, substance use and suicide prevention efforts. 

USciences was among the first universities who began participating in the program in 2015. It has allowed SHAC to become a resource for the entire campus community, streamline, organize, and highlight their efforts and plan for the future. 

“Participating in the program helped to formalize the process and lend structure to existing efforts, as well as connect us with like-minded individuals on campus who are passionate about student wellness to further university efforts and programs,” said Gauri Saxena PhD, assistant director of counseling at USciences. “Furthermore, we have secured grants from private, state, and federal agencies to increase programming and resources on campus.”

Through the program, the center gathered information about students and their needs during the Healthy Minds Study; the University implemented Monthly InSTALLments, sharing important tips about health and wellness topics posted in bathroom stalls around campus; and worked with students, faculty, and staff to complete gatekeeper trainings and simulations to help those groups better learn how to refer individuals to life-saving services. Dr. Saxena also says that participating in the program helped the University secure new grant opportunities, revise policies, and engage student organizations in these important topics. 

“Through our efforts with the program, student wellbeing has increasingly become a campus wide responsibility,” said Dr. Saxena, noting that in this time the University created the position of Dean of Health and Wellness, a position held by Heidi Freeman.

Participating in this program has increased the sense of joint responsibility for student wellness, said Dr. Saxena. 

“We are confident that, with the improved infrastructure and culture on our campus, we will continue to meet the goals laid out at the start of the program and ensure they remain sustainable,” she said. 

Categories: News, USciences, Student Life, Student Health and Counseling