Connecticut College earns praise for mental health support and initiatives

Fresh Check Day featured interactive booths, music and activities promoting mental health and wellness.
Fresh Check Day featured interactive booths, music and activities promoting mental health and wellness.

The Jed & Clinton Health Matters Campus Program praised Connecticut College’s breadth of mental health services when it welcomed the College into a nationwide initiative supporting student wellness.

Connecticut College is one of 55 institutions throughout the country to join The Campus Program, which requires each school to undergo a thorough review of mental health services and support available for students. Connecticut College was commended for providing an extensive array of resources designed to support mental health, reduce substance abuse and prevent suicide. The organization also noted that the College’s counseling website, often the first place a student will turn for information, is very comprehensive and user-friendly.

“The Campus Program’s recognition demonstrates the strength of our services, as well as our administration, to help students through normal development issues and the occasional bump in the road,” said Janet Spoltore, director of Student Counseling Services.

Spoltore said the College’s efforts go well beyond her office, with Student Health Services, the Office of Student Wellness and Alcohol/Drug Education, Residential Education and Living, and the administration all supporting Student Counseling Services in creating a campus network of mental health support and intervention.

Most recently, for example, the College presented “Fresh Check Day,” a mental health and wellness celebration that includes music, entertainment, food, interactive booths and exciting prizes. “It’s a loud reminder that your school cares about you and your wellbeing,” Spoltore told students.

"We are thrilled to announce that Connecticut College is among the first group of schools in the nation to join The Campus Program and to celebrate them for their recognition of mental health as an essential element of student education, development and maturation,” said Rain Henderson, CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative.

Over the next four years, the Campus Program will work with the College to identify opportunities for enhancing mental health and substance abuse prevention programming on campus. For example, in its initial review of the College’s resources, the Campus Program offered some small recommendations that led to the development of a system through which students can safely dispose of prescription drugs to prevent their redistribution or abuse.

Such systems, in conjunction with quality mental health services, are essential for students, said John Bitters, the assistant director of Connecticut College Student Counseling Services.

“The more students learn about themselves by interacting with our caring staff, the more they are able to participate fully in all that the College has to offer,” Bitters said.

Among other services, students can find the following resources through Student Counseling Services:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Forums and other mental health education programs
  • Referrals to off-campus clinicians for specialized treatment

The Campus Program is a joint initiative of the Jed Foundation, which works to protect the emotional health of teenagers and college students, and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, part of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Its goal is to help colleges enhance mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programming.

October 6, 2014