Jed Foundation, Steve Fund Launch College Mental Health Initiative

The Jed Foundation and the Steve Fund have announced a joint plan to help colleges and universities provide greater support for the mental health and emotional well-being of college students of color.

The plan from the two mental health organizations is based on data from a 2015 national survey conducted by Jed, the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, and the Jordan Porco Foundation that reveals a need among higher education institutions to provide mental health support, education, and programming tailored to the unique challenges faced by college students of color. To that end, the two organizations will develop a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at enabling college decision-makers, administrators, professionals, students, and families to offer more effective support for the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color and help them reduce the shame, prejudice, secrecy, and stigma surrounding mental health challenges, as well as help prevent suicide among students of color.

According to the survey, Caucasian students are more likely than African-American and Hispanic students to say they feel more academically (50 percent vs. 36 percent and 39 percent) and emotionally (35 percent vs. 23 percent) prepared than their peers during their first term of college. The data also revealed that African-American students are more likely than Caucasian students to say that college is not living up to their expectations (57 percent vs. 46 percent); that African-American and Hispanic students are more likely than Caucasian students to say that it seems like everyone has college figured out but them (52 percent and 49 percent vs. 41 percent); and that African-American students are more likely than Caucasian students to say they tend to keep their feelings about the difficulty of college to themselves (75 percent vs. 61 percent).

"The partnership between the Steve Fund and the Jed Foundation will allow us to make significant progress in addressing an alarming deficit in effective, culturally relevant, and broadly adopted mental health programming for students of color in our nation's colleges and universities," said Steve Fund president Evan Rose. "Together, we will provide practical, actionable recommendations to stimulate dialogue and best practices that reduce stigma, build knowledge, and support assistance so that young people of color can thrive in higher education environments."

"New Partnership to Support Mental Health of College Students of Color." Jed Foundation Press Release 01/13/2016.