Pictured above, are me, Anne Moss Rogers, youth suicide prevention speaker, and author, with Emma Brown, a youth mental health and suicide prevention advocate. Emma is part of a Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group I co-facilitate with Shirley Ramsey since she is from Richmond. (She attends virtually now that she lives in NY). Both Emma and me attended the JED Foundation Suicide Prevention Gala in New York City. I was invited by Suzanne Button LCSW who said I could bring a +1 and since my husband was otherwise engaged at a work event, I asked my young friend, Emma since she lives in Brooklyn, NY. Suzanne Button and I speak quarterly to touch base on topics for youth mental health and how we can partner on initiatives. She also endorsed and vetted, Dr. Kim O’Brien’s and my book, Emotionally Naked Teacher’s Guide to Preventing Suicide.

Who is JED and how did it get started? In 1998, Phil and Donna Satow lost their youngest son, Jed, to suicide. Although suicide was and continues to be a leading cause of death among young adults, schools had no uniform model for preventing suicide on campus. They decided that’s what needed to happen and started the JED Foundation.

The Foundation (JED) has evolved into a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today and tomorrow.

JED’s signature program, JED Campus, helps hundreds of colleges and universities develop and strengthen their approaches to supporting student mental health and preventing suicide.  Start to finish, the process of becoming a JED campus is about 4 years. Here are the schools that are currently JED campuses.

Over the pandemic, 18.8% of high school students reported that they struggled with serious thoughts of suicide. JED High School is dedicated to helping school districts and high schools evaluate and strengthen their programming and systems related to suicide prevention, mental health, and substance misuse prevention. That is an 18-month timeline for schools. Here are JED Schools.

I believe these two programs to be the most complete in terms of supporting emotional health in our schools and colleges and therefore the most effective in preventing suicide and substance use disorder-related early deaths. My alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill just recently joined the ranks of JED Campuses. My son Richard attended UNC School of the Arts for filmmaking and I knew when he enrolled it was a JED Campus.

If you have a child or young adult who is enrolled in school, I hope you will advocate for them to become a JED school. If you or your child is going to attend college and has struggled with mental health issues or substance misuse, do go to the JED campus schools. And if you are an educator and your school is not yet in the program, I hope you’ll spearhead the effort to become a JED Campus or JED High School.

I will post more photos when the official ones come out.

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