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University cited for approach to mental health programming
11/13/13

Alfred University (AU) is one of 30 institutions in the country to receive the Jed Foundation’s new JedCampus seal in recognition of its comprehensive approach to mental health programs.

This certification program recognizes the efforts of the campus as a whole towards the promotion of emotional health and suicide prevention programming. The seal, valid for two years, is part of the Foundation’s JedCampus program, the first nationwide program to facilitate a school’s ability to assess and enhance their overall mental health support system.

“The JedCampus seal is a great opportunity to observe ways in which to improve our mental health programming and all-around safety for students here at Alfred and the community itself,” said Stanley Tam, director of the AU Wellness Center. “It affords us the opportunity to acknowledge our strengths and to embrace some of the things we do well.”

Participating schools took a voluntary, online self-assessment reviewing their campus mental health and suicide prevention programming. Upon receipt of the self-assessment survey, The Jed Foundation compared the school's responses to the recommended practices outlined in “The Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention on College and University Campuses” developed by The Jed Foundation and Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Each participating school received confidential, detailed feedback designed to help the school enhance its current programming and resources.

Tam joined the Alfred University faculty as the Wellness Center director at the start of the 2013-14 academic year. His previous professional experiences include working as a teacher, class counselor, editor, Web designer, internship director, school counselor, adjunct faculty member, practicum diagnostician, practicum therapist, pre-doctoral intern, and pre-doctoral fellow. He holds doctoral and master of arts degrees in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, as well as a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Emerson College, Boston, MA, and a dual bachelor of arts degree in psychology and English/textual studies from Syracuse (NY) University.

Located at 19 Park St. in Alfred, the AU Wellness Center offers a short-term facility with staff to assist students in addressing mental health issues. The Wellness Center offers personal counseling from nationally certified counselors; group counseling on issues such as the non-traditional student, eating disorders, and relationships; outreach through educational programming and workshops for residence halls, classes, and student organizations; consultation with faculty, staff, parents or students who have concerns about a student; and a ‘mind spa,’ a therapeutic room offering biofeedback, a massage chair, aromatherapy and wellness resources.

The staff is also working to continue developing more extensive programming in conjunction with several other departments on campus, such as outreach with residence halls and sports teams and trauma and relationship support groups.

“Our center is continuing to find ways in which to match services to the needs of our particular student population here at Alfred U,” Tam said. “Having the Wellness Center integrating both Health and Psychological services affords us the capability to have more thorough care to encompass mind, body and spirit.”

The Jed Foundation is a leading nonprofit working to protect the emotional health of teenagers and college students. Its programs have inspired a new national dialogue on mental health, encouraging young people to speak up and take action, and changing the way academic institutions create healthier campus communities and prevent substance abuse and self-harm. For more information on the variety of programs offered by the Jed Foundation, visit www.jedfoundation.org.