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Health

USC gets seal of approval for mental health programs

by Heidi Ried-Gonzaga
The USC Engemann Student Health Center took a voluntary online assessment to evaluate its programs on campus. (Photo/Bob Stallings)
Photo: The USC Engemann Student Health Center took a voluntary online assessment to evaluate its programs on campus. (Photo/Bob Stallings)

USC is among the 30 colleges and universities to receive the first JedCampus Seal from the Jed Foundation, an organization working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among students.

Valid for two years, the seal recognizes schools that demonstrate comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming on campus. The seal is given as part of the foundation’s first nationwide initiative to facilitate a school’s ability to assess and enhance its mental health support system from a campus-wide perspective.

“Unfortunately, mental health issues continue to rise among young adults and college students with the top issues being anxiety and depression,” said Lawrence Neinstein, assistant provost of student health and wellness and executive director of health services at the USC Engemann Student Health Center. “I am proud of our many campus resources that help in this multifaceted challenge. I am especially proud of our counseling services for their continued dedication in assisting our students with their mental health issues.”

As part of the process to earn the seal, the Engemann Center took a voluntary, online self-assessment to review its mental health and suicide prevention programming on campus. The Jed Foundation then compared the school’s responses to the recommended practices outlined in “The Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention on College and University Campuses” developed by foundation and Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

“This is a testament to all the hard work the professionals at the Engemann Student Health Center and USC Student Affairs provide to insure the health and safety of our students,” said Ilene Rosenstein, director of Student Counseling Services at the center. “The various initiatives that were reviewed by the Jed Foundation show what a terrific collaborative process USC has created to help its students thrive.”

Added John MacPhee, executive director of the Jed Foundation: “Schools like the University of Southern California have shown they employ a comprehensive, community-based approach to mental health care that will result in the identification of and care for more at-risk students. We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health promotion will lead to safer, healthier campuses and possibly greater student retention.”

Leading higher education and mental health professional organizations, including the American College Counseling Association, American College Health Association, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, among others, have provided statements of support for the JedCampus initiative.