Daily News

HCC Joins JED Campus to Support Student Mental Health

HOLYOKE — As World Mental Health Day was recognized last week, Holyoke Community College (HCC) announced it has joined the JED Campus network in support of student well-being and mental health.

JED Campus is a nationwide initiative of the New York-based Jed Foundation designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental-health, substance-misuse, and suicide-prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental-health safety nets.

HCC was also one of six schools nationwide selected for an inaugural scholarship from the JED Foundation to strengthen student-support programs promoting mental-health awareness and suicide prevention.

“This is a critical time for young people in our nation as they cope with the current pandemic, ongoing issues around racial equity, and the regular pressures of transitioning into adulthood,” said John MacPhee, executive director and CEO of the JED Foundation. “We believe that working with high schools, colleges, and universities to invest in real-life systems that strengthen mental-health safety nets and foster a community of caring for students is more important than ever. By joining JED Campus, HCC is demonstrating a commitment to the emotional well-being of its students.”

JED campuses embark on a multi-year strategic collaboration that not only assesses and enhances the work already being done, but also helps create positive, lasting, systemic change in the campus community. JED Campus advisors work closely with these schools through a collaborative process of comprehensive systems, programs, and policy assessment with customized support to build upon each institution’s existing structures.

HCC’s JED Campus team includes students, faculty, and staff. The $20,000 scholarship will remediate a large portion of the JED Campus fees.

“Mental-health concerns continue to rise among young people and college students, particularly now as we remain in the throes of a pandemic,” said Rachel Rubinstein, HCC vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. “As a Hispanic-serving institution, with students who are predominantly first-generation, low-income, or people of color, our students are particularly vulnerable to the health and economic effects of the pandemic, and the mental health of our regional communities is of profound concern to us. The foundation’s gift, along with the expertise and guidance of JED advisors, will help us make the sustainable change that is needed to support our students’ well-being and success.”