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Ohio State recognized for mental health promotion

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Ohio State’s suicide prevention and mental health counseling initiatives were recently recognized nationally, showing some students, faculty and staff OSU is working to combat mental health issues on campus.

OSU Counseling and Consultation Services earned the JedCampus Seal this month for its efforts promoting the emotional well-being of students.

The seal, valid for two years and given out for the first time this year, recognizes schools that “exhibit comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming, based upon evaluation of the school’s survey responses (against the) Jed Foundation’s recommended practices in mental health programming,” according to the JedCampus website.

The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit organization working to promote emotional health, prevent suicide and protect the mental health of teenagers and college students, according to the organization’s website.

One of OSU’s programs, OSU Suicide Prevention, works with campus and community partners to coordinate a comprehensive suicide prevention program for OSU, according to the program’s website.

Suicide Prevention has about 70 Columbus campus, regional campus and community partners who collaborate with the program to make suicide prevention a shared campus responsibility, according to the program’s website.

Some of the OSU-Columbus partners include Counseling and Consultation Services, Student Life, OSU Police and University Housing.

OSU Suicide Prevention program manager Wendy Winger said the program is funded by Student Life.

OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said in an email Student Life’s “portion of the Suicide Prevention program is $150,000 per year.”

Winger said suicide is a difficult issue to focus on, which can lead to campus suicide prevention programs being less prevalent than OSU’s program, which has its own independent office on the fourth floor of the Physical Activities and Education Services building.

OSU Counseling and Consultation Service, which aims to help students with stress management, anxiety and depression, among other things, is located in the Younkin Success Center at 1640 Neil Ave.

OSU Director of Counseling and Consultation Services Micky Sharma said earning the JedCampus Seal is a positive sign for how OSU operates.

“It is a statement to not only our university community but beyond, that the mental health services and the suicide prevention program are things that Ohio State takes very seriously, puts emphasis on and makes a priority for the betterment of our students,” Sharma said.

Sharma said OSU is the largest university and the only in Ohio to receive the seal.

“It is an important distinction as well to demonstrate that even on a large campus, we are able to have comprehensive mental health services and prevention programming,” Sharma said.

Winger said the award is an emblem of the hard work the Suicide Prevention program has done across the university.

“We have received this award as a result of all of our partners working together on suicide prevention,” Winger said. “The strength of the OSU Suicide Prevention program comes from how many partners we have and how much they have all worked together and contributed something towards the effort.”

Kaitlin Blackburn, a fourth-year in aeronautical engineering and German, said it is comforting to know OSU provides reliable mental health services.

“I’ve never had to personally use any mental health services at OSU, but a friend of mine saw an OSU counselor after she had an abusive relationship situation and she said they were very helpful,” Blackburn said.

Sharma said OSU Counseling and Consultation Services reaches out to students electronically through its website and through a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“We also do a lot of programming and outreach presentations all across campus in classrooms, residence halls, through different student groups and at different events,” Sharma said.

JedCampus seals were awarded to 30 colleges and universities. University of Kentucky, Boston University, New York University and Yale University were among the other schools that received the seal.

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