JED campus is a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation (JED) which guides colleges and universities through a 4-year, 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. JED will help the University of Houston take a systematic and evidence-based review of how we can improve the emotional health and well-being of our students and decrease suicides. JED Campus signifies that we are putting systems, programs, and policies in place to create a culture of Cougars caring for each other that builds an emotional safety net for our students’ mental health.
The JED approach
The JED comprehensive approach is designed to effect enduring, systemic change across our campus community. It focuses on these 7 areas:
Supporting life skills education is valuable in teaching healthy ways to cope with the stress of college life. Some of the life skills that are important to a student’s well-being include managing friendships and relationships, problem solving, decision making, identifying and managing emotions, healthy living, and finding life purpose, meaning and identity.
Research has shown that loneliness and isolation are significant risk factors for mental health problems and/or suicidal behavior. Therefore, supportive social relationships and feeling connected to campus, family and friends are protective factors that can help lower risk.
It is important to take action to identify students at risk for mental health problems and/or suicidal behavior, and also to promote emotional health awareness among those who interact with students the most — “gatekeepers” such as residence hall staff, academic advisors, faculty and even fellow students — as it is vital for these people to be able to recognize and refer a student who might be in distress.
Many students who need help may be reluctant or unsure of how to seek it out. Obstacles to help-seeking include lack of awareness of mental health services, skepticism about the effectiveness of treatment, prejudices associated with mental illness, and uncertainty about costs or insurance coverage. Campuses should engage in a variety of activities designed to increase the likelihood that a student in need will seek help.
It has been well established that if the means to self-harm are removed or limited in an environment, it can prevent suicide and even limit accidental deaths. This is called “means reduction.” Limiting students’ access to weapons, poisonous chemicals and rooftops, windows or other high places are all means reduction activities. Each campus should do an environmental scan for potential access to lethal or dangerous means.
The campus should have access to a well-publicized 24/7 crisis phone and/or chat line either through campus resources or local/national services. There should be a process in place to share information (as legally appropriate) between local ERs and school health and/or counseling services.
It is essential to offer accessible, consistent and high-quality mental health services to students. To make mental health and substance abuse care more comprehensive, it should include strong and flexible services, adequate staffing levels and staff diversity reflective of the student population, flexibility in treatment approaches, and clinic hours that are reflective of student schedules. Since most college clinics are free, the length of treatment is often limited. Therefore, it is important that campus mental health services can assist students in finding off-campus resources that can provide long-term care if needed.
Suicide Prevention Training: QPR
QPR, which stands for "Question, Persuade, Refer", is a nationally recognized suicide prevention program designed to educate persons to recognize and respond to the signs of suicidal thinking or behavior. Research has shown that persons who ultimately attempt suicide often provide numerous direct or indirect clues as to their intentions, and the goal of this training is to recognize these verbal, behavioral, or situational clues and take steps to get the person professional help. The presentation helps persons learn how to ask the suicide question, how to persuade the person to contact appropriate assistance, and how to identify referral options. Once trained, these persons act as gatekeepers for the campus community, informed and ready to intervene on behalf of individuals considering suicide.
Call for Faculty and Staff QPR Trainers
- Become trained in delivering a nationally certified suicide prevention program to UH students, faculty and staff.
- The trainer certification is for 3 years; thus, we are asking for a 3-year commitment from Faculty or Staff willing to help us build a community of care here at UH.
- During the 3 years, we ask for trainers to host 2-3 trainings per year.
Contact Dr. Marti Trummer-Cabrera for more information.