Widener University Partners with National Leader on Young Adult Mental Health

Springtime on the Widener University campus in Chester
Image via Widener University
Springtime on the Widener University campus in Chester

Widener University is partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED) to become a JED Campus institution supporting student well-being and mental health.

The JED program is a nationwide initiative to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that they have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.

As a JED campus, Widener is embarking on a multi-year strategic collaboration that not only assesses and enhances the work that is already being done at the university but also helps create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community.

The program provides schools like Widener with a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports, a strategic plan, and ongoing support from the JED higher education team.

“We are natural partners. We want the same things – students who feel healthy, connected, and supported. This partnership is significant. It will lead to positive, lasting, systemic improvement for our university,” said Jennifer Horowitz, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Widener, who is co-leading the initiative with Geraldine Bloemker, associate provost for student success.

The four-year partnership began this spring semester with a Healthy Minds Survey taken by university students and employees.

For students, the survey measured mental health and related needs, student familiarity with Widener mental health resources, and how to access and use those resources.

For employees, it sought to understand faculty and staff well-being, attitudes, knowledge, and experiences.

For the next step, JED will help Widener analyze the survey data.

Partners from the foundation will visit the university over multiple days in March for a thorough evaluation of Widener’s strengths and student mental health needs.

All of the data assessed together will help JED and Widener collaborate on an action plan that enhances what’s working and addresses unmet needs.

As a national leader, JED will help Widener make informed decisions and enhance policies, programs, and resources with insight into best practices.

“These efforts taken together – the survey, the site visit, and the creation of an action plan – will drive progress, improvement and innovation,” Bloemker said.

Find out more about what it means to be a JED campus.

The JED Foundation is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults.

It partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen its mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.

JED equips teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other.

JED encourages community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.

Widener University is a private institution known for its commitment to the personal and professional success of every student, where academic experiences are distinguished by excellence and students develop the leadership qualities employers seek.

Core values of respect, integrity, and excellence are reflected in an outstanding student experience provided through an agile, innovative, and inclusive approach to learning.

Industry-shaping faculty provide close, personal mentorship and share powerful connections that help students build professional networks.

Recognized as one of the Philadelphia region’s leading universities, Widener offers programs and experiences that empower our community of learners to discover and create better futures as scholars, leaders, and globally engaged citizens.

Find out more about Widener University.

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