I am pleased to share that Tufts University will participate in Mental Health Awareness Week from October 2 – 8. This week also aligns with many other fall observations and awareness efforts related to mental health and wellbeing such as Suicide Prevention Month (September), Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2 – 8), National Depression Screening Day (October 6), and World Mental Health Day (October 10). Throughout the week, we will highlight events and resources related to mental health and emotional wellbeing, spotlight the work that is currently underway across the university, and reaffirm our commitment to supporting the wellbeing of our community.
Mental health disorders are among the most common health conditions in the United States and affect all of us directly or indirectly through family, friends, or colleagues. Nationally, there has been a steady increase in adolescents and young adults who have met criteria for one or more mental health problems, and it is a critical age for the onset of many mental health disorders. The prevalence of mental illness and recent trends emphasize the importance of integrating mental health and emotional wellbeing into every facet of our campus community.
In October 2019, we shared the final report of the Task Force on Student Mental Health, which I had convened in 2016. That report was the conclusion of a comprehensive assessment of student mental health at Tufts including actionable, evidence-based recommendations to help the university better meet the mental health needs of our students. I am grateful that due to the many collaborative efforts by stakeholders across Tufts, most of the recommendations in the report have now been implemented or are well underway. In addition, through the Jed Campus initiative and the Mental Health Steering Committee, which I now chair, countless other strategies have been implemented to meet our community’s evolving needs and trends related to student mental health.
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 all of us to not only address our own unique mental health and emotional needs but also support one another within our community. We invite you to join us in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week by participating in one of the scheduled programs, learning more about resources, or simply wearing a green ribbon to show your support, raise awareness, and take a stand against stigma.
Thank you to all of the departments, units, schools, and our partners hosting events this week and throughout the year. We know that this is simply a snapshot of the breadth of work across our community to support mental health and wellbeing. I look forward to continuing to work with the entire Tufts community to continue to remain engaged in this important work of making Tufts a healthier and more inclusive community.