QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – SUNY Adirondack is looking to enhance student mental health. As of this week, they’re joining a national initiative to do so.

On Monday, SUNY Adirondack announced it had joined JED Campus, a program that strengthens mental health resources among student bodies and takes steps against substance abuse. Run by The Jed Foundation, the JED Campus program works to strengthen programs including suicide prevention and general mental health.

“SUNY Adirondack is excited to add this collaboration with JED to all the great support already offered across campus,” said Kate O’Sick, dean for Student Affairs at SUNY Adirondack. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated mental health issues for people of all ages, but especially for young people. We want to do everything possible to help our students be healthy, physically and emotionally.”   

SUNY Adirondack is largely a two-year school, and is relatively newer to student life measures like on-campus student housing, which opened in 2013, but the college has offered some mental health resources to students for many years. The school operates a counseling center, by appointment and walk-in, as well as support groups focusing on specific issues. More recently, SUNY Adirondack led faculty, staff and student community leaders through Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education training.

JED Campus’ role is to help colleges like SUNY Adirondack further develop those programs, and more, into the future. Campuses that are part of JED set off on multi-year assessment and collaboration projects, to reinforce resources already in place at the college and create change where it’s needed.

“The college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” said JED CEO John MacPhee. “JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey everything their college or university is doing to support their students’ emotional health and find practical ways to augment these efforts. We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier communities, and likely greater student retention.”

JED and SUNY Adirondack will take time into assessing the needs SUNY Adirondack students have, and how best to meet them. A four-year study period lies ahead for the collaboration. SUNY Adirondack is also working on adding indoor and outdoor mental health spaces on-campus.