The Johnson campus of Northern Vermont University has partnered with the New York-based JED Foundation, which works with high schools and colleges to destigmatize mental health issues, address substance use and prevent suicide.
Campus Wellness Center Director Kate McCarthy said the partnership will help them reach students across campus who may not come into the wellness center.
"Obviously, here in the wellness center we talk with students about mental health every minute of every day," McCarthy said. "But our hope is to really expand that conversation to the entire campus, so that it’s really a holistic approach to mental health that’s looking from all aspects of our campus.”
McCarthy said NVU-Johnson has formed a team of faculty and staff to assess campus services. In addition, mental health first aid training will be offered to employees this fall.
She added that they've begun working with incoming freshmen to help the students feel connected to their new school community.
"'Cause we find one of the big things in college students is feeling lonely," said McCarthy. "So, really working to help people understand that feeling lonely is okay, and there shouldn’t be shame associated with it. So trying to help our students create some real, authentic connections to their peers and to other parts of the campus."
McCarthy said the next step is to issue what she called a 'healthy mind survey' to all students on campus.