At Tufts, the well-being of our students—fundamental to both academic success and personal growth—is of the utmost importance. In line with national trends, in recent years we have seen a significant increase in the demand for mental health services by students across our schools. In response to this escalating demand, and evolving student needs, in December 2016 the Task Force on Student Mental Health began a comprehensive assessment of student mental health at Tufts. Our goal was to develop actionable, evidence-based recommendations that would help the university better meet the mental health needs of our students.
Today, we are pleased to share the final report of the Task Force, reflecting the effort and insights of many dedicated individuals. We especially thank all those who served on the Task Force and its three working groups. Comments from a number of them appear in today’s Tufts Now story about the Task Force.
The major findings and recommendations presented in the report outline a multifaceted strategy for supporting student mental health at Tufts. We are fortunate to have students, faculty, and staff across the university actively engaged in formal and informal efforts to foster an environment that empowers students to address their unique mental health and emotional needs, increases awareness, and reduces stigma. We are particularly grateful to the outstanding clinical staff who provide care to our students. Thanks to collaborative efforts by many of these individuals, key Task Force recommendations are already being implemented across our four campuses.
The research, discourse, and hard work that have led to the development of the recommendations in this report mean that Tufts is now better poised to elevate student mental health as a university-wide priority. Advancing these recommendations and the broader dialogue surrounding student mental health will depend on the sustained involvement of contributors from across Tufts. It is the sincere hope of the Task Force that this report may serve not only as an advisory document for the central administration, schools, and divisions, but also as a call to action for the entire community to remain engaged in the important work of making Tufts a healthier and more inclusive community.
We are excited by the opportunity to make Tufts a leader in supporting student mental health and well-being. This critical work will continue through the creation of a Steering Committee on Student Mental Health, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, to oversee continued implementation of these recommendations and maintain our focus on this complex issue. The work of the university-wide Steering Committee will complement the recently launched JED Campus partnership on the Medford/Somerville and Boston SMFA campuses. Both will advance our goal of deeper engagement to implement strategic changes that promote the health of our students.
We look forward to continuing to work with students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends as we address this challenge of great importance to our entire university community.
Anthony P. Monaco, MD, PhD
Chair, Task Force on Student Mental Health
Paul Summergrad, MD
Dr. Frances S. Arkin Professor and Chairman
Department of Psychiatry
Professor of Psychiatry
Tufts University School of Medicine
Tufts Medical Center
Co-Chair, Task Force on Student Mental Health