A Focus on Mental Health: Taft Partners with The Jed Foundation (JED)

Taft has partnered with The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit organization working to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults.

Adolescents are at risk for a variety of mental health challenges, and rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide in this age group have increased in recent years.  At Taft, we aim to help students be well and safe and develop the skills and aptitudes to be resilient in the face of challenges. Despite the caring community and many support systems available at Taft, our students remain vulnerable to emotional distress and mental illness. With this awareness, community members have sought ways to holistically address mental health and wellness among Taft students. In the fall of 2022, Taft began partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. This partnership was made possible through the generous support of Marti Boyd, class of 1973.

The goals of the Taft-JED alliance are significant in magnitude and potential impact: to improve student mental health, the inclination to seek help, and the availability of resources; increase distress recognition, reduce the risk of self-harm, and build crisis response protocols; and foster a more connected community with a deeper sense of belonging. JED has provided us with helpful insight and important guidance while also providing significant affirmation about the quality of our program and supports and the safety of our campus.

“It is a large, but critical undertaking for Taft,” notes Dr. Rachel Jacobs, Director of Counseling and Community Health. “We began our work with JED by surveying the members of our community to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.  Students, who completed the survey in January of 2023, reported that there is a good support system available for those facing challenges; and when those challenges impact academic performance, 95% found their teachers to be supportive. Our goal is to have a community of caring and compassionate adults who all feel comfortable having conversations with students about their mental health and know how to direct them to appropriate resources, when necessary.”

“Our work with JED is really just beginning,” says Dr. Lauren Henry. “Gathering information about where we are as a community was just the first step. The next step—the work we’re engaged in now—is to implement interventions that actively support student wellness and reduce stigma around mental illness. Current and upcoming goals include trainings for faculty and students about how to help students who are struggling, improving signage and website information regarding mental health resources, and increasing mental health screenings across our support systems, such as the health center and academic center. This work will continue throughout the 2024-2025 academic year, and includes the development and implementation of plans for strategic action within the Taft community. Those plans will strengthen the sense of connection and belonging our community is built on.”

Health and wellness – mental and physical - are central to learning and to helping adolescents become resilient and successful adults. JED is one component of a larger set of programs, practices, and priorities that guide the educational experience at Taft. While the moment in time and society presents challenges to helping adolescents be healthy, we are fortunate to have resources and insight that enables us to engage in practices helping us educate the whole student and aid in their health and wellness. We are fortunate for the support of Marti Boyd and many other benefactors who care deeply about our students and are invested in ensuring their ongoing health and wellness.


The Jed Foundation (JED) was founded by Phil and Donna Satow in 2000, two-years after their son Jed died by suicide. More than 9,000 high schools, colleges, and universities are transforming the conversation around mental health and mobilizing communities to action using JED resources. More than 70,000 college, high school, and other mental health professionals have been educated by JED in mental health promotion and suicide prevention through conference presentations and webinars.

Taft’s work with The Jed Foundation (JED) is made possible in part by the generosity of Marti Boyd '73 and her husband Michael Boyd.

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