JED Foundation offers recommendations for supporting student mental health during the pandemic

JED Foundation offers recommendations for supporting student mental health during the pandemic

Rory Kelly
Editorial Contributor

The coronavirus pandemic, like other extreme events, has illustrated the saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Ventures, such as InstaCart online grocery shopping and delivery, and new protocols, such as mask requirements when entering stores, became mainstays for much of the US population over a matter of weeks.

Rapid adaptations similarly rocked higher education as students suddenly shifted from the mid-semester push with spring break looming to packing up belongings and seeking new living arrangements off-campus and all learning done remotely. Authors of a number of studies concluded that the pandemic negatively impacted student mental health, an existing crisis even prior to this past spring. With continued uncertainty over the summer and heading into the fall semester, one can imagine further turmoil ahead.

Following the close of the 2019-2020 academic year, the JED Foundation’s CEO and Executive Director John MacPhee, MBA, MPH, wrote an article for Inside Higher Ed outlining four recommendations for colleges and universities to support student mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic. All four of these recommendations, which are reinforced in a recent JED posting, are addressed by one or more elements of Christie Campus Health’s CONNECT@College platform. 

The first JED Foundation recommendation on student mental health is “support the development of life skills.” Many attend college seeking new knowledge, both about academic subjects and themselves. Christie Campus Health’s CONNECT@College solution supports students’ desire for introspection and skill development through online cognitive behavioral training. The eight-module course guides students on a learning journey that incorporates knowledge acquisition and skills practice. Some students find the online training helpful because of its action-oriented delivery that encourages students to make tangible changes to their life to positively impact their wellbeing.

The second JED recommendation is “promote social connectedness”. The CONNECT@College platform supports student connections through telehealth individual counseling options, as well as a pilot COVID-19 support group via telehealth for students.

“Identify students at-risk”, the third JED mental health recommendation, is a growing challenge for college administrators and counselors in the COVID-19 era as more and more students are self-isolating and/or living off-campus or in single dorm rooms. It can be particularly difficult to identify and reach these students. The CONNECT platform offers a 24/7 phone line with clinicians on-call, so that when a student needs in-the-moment support or has reached a place of acceptance and wants care, there is always a trained professional to assist at any time, both for domestic students across the US and for students abroad. No student needs to handle their struggles alone.

Finally, “increasing student help-seeking behavior,” the fourth JED recommendation, can serve as one of the greatest proactive measures to support wellbeing. Life happens, whether a student feels well-supported and grounded or not. With this in mind, CONNECT@College offers multiple avenues through which a student can seek services, as well as a varied selection of integrated services to optimize treatment matching and student wellbeing.

College and university communities have been working tirelessly to support their students, during a highly disruptive pandemic. The team at Christie Campus Health and its CONNECT@College platform aim to support institutions of higher education in their efforts to invest in their students’ wellbeing and promote retention and academic success. To learn more about how CONNECT can complement and enhance your school’s strengths and services, contact us at or call us at 781-457-7700.




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