Originally published by UW Forefront Suicide Prevention Center on September 19, 2023.
New York and Washington State, September 19, 2023—The Jed Foundation (JED), the nation’s leading nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults, and Forefront Suicide Prevention, a Center of Excellence at the University of Washington School of Social Work, jointly announce a first-of-its-kind partnership to provide no-cost training on youth mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming for interested high schools in Washington state.
In response to escalating youth mental health concerns and new CDC data indicating suicide deaths are at an all-time high, JED High School Delivered by Forefront Suicide Prevention Center was created with the support of Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company. Through this multiyear collaboration, Forefront in the Schools (FIS) staff will be trained to implement JED High School free of charge as part of JED’s Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.
The program supports high school staff and leaders as they work to build comprehensive systems of school mental health and suicide prevention while supporting schools through evaluating their students’ mental health needs, strategically meeting those needs, and providing expert technical assistance to implement the school’s plan. Research shows this evidence-based framework successfully supports and improves student mental health, reduces suicide risk, and emotionally prepares students for the transition out of high school and into young adulthood. Program participation fees for JED High School typically range from $35,000 to $42,000 per school.
“Together with JED and Pivotal Ventures, we stand committed to prioritizing youth mental health and suicide prevention for Washington state high schools and students,” said Megan Reibel, Director of School-Based Programs at Forefront Suicide Prevention. “Equipping individuals, schools, and communities with the knowledge and tools to implement comprehensive systems-level change will create lasting positive change in the lives of young people in our state.”
Over the past decade in the U.S., high schoolers who reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless increased from 28 percent to 42 percent. In Washington, 52 percent of children ages 12 to 17 received no mental health care in the past year despite 82,000 Washingtonians in that age group experiencing depression.
“We’re particularly excited to team up with Forefront Suicide Prevention Center and Pivotal Ventures to localize scaling efforts of our data-driven suicide prevention and youth mental health programming,” said Tony Walker, Senior Vice President of Academic Programs at JED. “Teens spend the majority of their time in school, an environment that has the power to significantly support and advance student emotional well-being. Creating a culture of care where young people feel comfortable asking for help can have a huge positive impact on students and help them thrive.”
Approximately 50,000 adolescents currently attend a JED High School, and more than 15,000 U.S. high schools use JED’s resources. JED and Forefront Suicide Prevention Center previously partnered in Washington to expand JED Campus programming to more than a dozen colleges and universities.
Washington high schools interested in collaborating with the JED High School Delivered by Forefront Suicide Prevention Center are encouraged to visit intheforefront.org for resources and more information.
Forefront Suicide Prevention
Forefront Suicide Prevention Center is a Center of Excellence at the University of Washington. Our mission is to help people take action to prevent suicide in their communities. We focus on innovative, evidence-based programming, advocacy, and research to reduce suicide in Washington state, particularly among high-risk groups such as veterans and youth.
The JED Foundation
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.