For its mental health and suicide prevention programs, the University of Arizona has been nationally recognized with the JedCampus seal.
The UA is one of 37 schools nationwide to be awarded the seal, and is the first recipient in Arizona.
The JedCampus seal is awarded by the Jed Foundation, which works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students. This is the first year the foundation has given the seal.
Valid for two years, the designation recognizes schools that exhibit comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming on campus.
The Jed Foundation was founded in 2000 by Donna and Phil Satow, who lost their son Jed to suicide. Jed was a sophomore at UA at the time of his death, making the seal even more meaningful to the UA.
"This is a special distinction for the UA that underscores our commitment to these important issues," said David Salafsky, director of health promotion and preventive services at the UA Campus Health Service. "We see this as another way we can keep the conversation going on how we can collectively support the mental health needs of our students."
The UA's comprehensive suicide prevention efforts include in-person trainings that teach students and employees how to ask someone about suicide; media campaigns that include educational posters, videos, newsletters and brochures; and more than 40 curriculum modules that can be used across campus. These modules were the result of work done by a group of students in the UA's John & Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, who were actively engaged in a federal grant awarded to the Campus Health Service by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
"While we know that providing safe and confidential mental health services is critical, we also know that educating students about the value in acknowledging suicidal thoughts and seeking help is necessary," said Marian Binder, director of the Campus Health Service's Counseling and Psych Services.
"We also believe that part of our effort in preventing suicide resides in dispelling the myth among students that talking to a friend or classmate about suicide will tend to encourage them to be suicidal," Binder said. "We are actively trying to train students to notice the signs of distress and have the skills to get beyond the discomfort and ask friends directly about their possible suicidal thoughts, so that early intervention can occur."
As part of the process to earn the seal, the Campus Health Service completed an online assessment reviewing campuswide mental health and suicide prevention programming. The Jed Foundation compared the UA's responses with the recommended practices outlined in "The Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health and Suicide Prevention on College and University Campuses," developed by the Jed Foundation and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. The UA also received confidential feedback to help enhance its programming and resources.
"We are thrilled to be able to announce the first schools in the nation to receive the JedCampus Seal," said John MacPhee, executive director of the Jed Foundation.
"Schools like the University of Arizona have shown they employ a comprehensive, community-based approach to mental health care, which will result in the identification of and care for more at-risk students," MacPhee said. "We believe that the implementation of a campuswide approach to mental health promotion will lead to safer, healthier campuses, and possibly greater student retention."
More information about the UA's suicide prevention resources can be found at www.preventsuicide.arizona.edu.
For more information on JedCampus, visit www.jedcampus.org.