The Jed Foundation
Podcast #34 — Aired July 3, 2014

Did you know that over half of all college students report feeling anxious and lonely? This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk about how The Jed Foundation is helping young people navigate tough times. The Jed Foundation is the nation’s leading organization working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students. We’ll talk with Executive Director John MacPhee about the unique programs The Jed Foundation offers college students and their parents, including Love is Louder and Half of Us. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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John MacPhee
Executive Director, The Jed Foundation

John MacPhee brings 20 years of leadership and management experience from the business and not-for-profit settings to The Jed Foundation. Prior to The Jed Foundation, he served as president of Strativa Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw commercial operations, clinical development, medical affairs, alliance management and business development. Previously, he worked at Forest Laboratories, where he led the launches of treatments for depression, anxiety and Alzheimer's disease. Well versed in the challenges faced by college students, John serves as a board member for Bottom Line, a nonprofit organization that provides guidance counseling to disadvantaged urban youth to help them get into college and graduate. He earned a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from New York University and an MPH from Columbia University.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Executive Director John MacPhee. John brings twenty years of leadership and management experience from the business and not for profit settings to the Jed Foundation. Prior to the Jed Foundation, he served as president of Strativa Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw commercial operations, clinical development, medical affairs, alliance management, and business development. Previously he worked at Forest Laboratories where he led the launches of treatments for depression and anxiety and Alzheimer s disease. Well versed in the challenges faced by college students, John serves as a board member for bottom line, a non-profit organization that provides guidance counseling to disadvantaged urban youth to help them get into college and graduate. John earned a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from New York University, and an MPH from Columbia University. John, its so great to have you join us today on Better Worldians Radio. Thanks for coming onboard.

John Macphee
Thank you. Its terrific to be here.

Raymond Hansell
Id like to begin our conversation sort of in this particular segment with you to just really get to know a little bit about yourself and the organization. So can you tell us a little bit about the history of the Jed Foundation and how it got underway?

John Macphee
Yes. So the Jed Foundation was founded about fourteen years ago in 2000 by a couple, Donna and Phil Satow after they lost their son Jed to suicide. Jed was a sophomore in college, twenty years old when he died. And Phil and Donna, when they worked to understand what had happened what had happened, they came to realize that there were warning signs that Jed was in distress and part of the reason that they wanted to and did start the Jed Foundation was to educate people about what the warning signs of emotional distress and potential suicidal behavior looked like in teenagers and young adults. The second motivation for starting the Jed Foundation was a conversation that Phil and Donna had with the president of the University of Arizona where Jed went to school. The president asked them. He said, you know, we have a large student body, some thirty thousand plus students. What do you recommend we do to support the mental health of the student body? And at the time, Phil and Donna were not sure how to answer that question. In fact, Im not sure that anyone really knew how to answer that question about how a university can best support the mental health of its students and that was also a driving force behind creating the Jed Foundation. And today, fourteen years later, our mission is to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students and much of our work is with colleges and universities helping them think about and setup the right kind of programming around mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention.

Raymond Hansell
Tell us a little bit about your role at the Jed Foundation?

John Macphee
Yes, so I serve as the Executive Director and CEO and what that means really is Im the team leader. I oversee the work of the folks that work here at the Jed Foundation in that regard. Then I oversee the implementation of our work and our programs, but really working with with the staff here.

Raymond Hansell
And what drew you to the Jed Foundation?

John Macphee
I was drawn to the Jed Foundation because of the mission. You know, issues around mental health, things like emotional distress, loneliness, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, you know, these are things that most families in the country struggle with and these are common. And it resonates with me personally, my own experiences from young adulthood where I had some difficulties and like most families you know, these issues, they touch everybody, and yet we dont talk about them as much as we talk about physical health, right? There is a stigma and a hesitance around these issues that keep people from talking about them and keep people from reaching out and seeking help. I was drawn to the Jed Foundation because I really want to help on those help on those issues and get us to a place where we all feel comfortable talking about mental health, as comfortable as we do in talking about physical health, and that it becomes normal to speak up and to reach out for support and help around an emotional mental health issue when you need it. I want to be part of that.

Raymond Hansell
Have you seen that stigma has been somewhat mitigated over the years as youve been in the Jed Foundation, that stigma about not talking about these kinds of issues? Has that improved?

John Macphee
I think were at a time now where I am optimistic that it is starting to change and that there are more conversations happening around mental health. But there is a very, very long way to go. We still have as a society, a lot of work to do to get to get this conversation normalized and people really feeling comfortable talking about it, as comfortable talking about depression or bipolar disorder as diabetes for example.

Raymond Hansell
I know you have a medical director on staff at the Jed Foundation and that you guys rely on other experts to help answer questions and give guidance. Could you speak a little bit about that?

John Macphee
Yes. So we do have a fulltime medical director, a physician, Doctor Victor Schwarz. Hes a psychiatrist and really just a wonderful and important part of the Jed Foundation. Victor was the medical director at a college counseling center for fourteen years and then went on to create a counseling center for another university and was also the Dean of Students. So he oversees our medical and clinical content if you will. We also have about thirty advisors to the Jed Foundation who help us with with these issues, with our content, you know, how we talk about and address these issues. Its important in this field that you know, we all make sure as were talking about issues related to mental health, substance abuse, suicide, etcetera, that were doing it in the right way and so we have a wonderful group of advisors who help us with that.

Raymond Hansell
Now who does the Jed Foundation serve? How would you describe that market?

John Macphee
First and foremost, the Jed Foundation serves students, students that are transitioning into college, students that are in college, and other young adults. So we serve students. Part of the way we serve students though is we work with school professionals and campus professionals to help them best support the emotional and mental health of students and we also work with family and parents and the broader community as well to help them understand how they can best support the teenagers and young adults in their lives.

Raymond Hansell
So what is at stake here? Why is the mission why is the mission here at the Jed Foundation so important?

John Macphee
Yeah, so ultimately lives are at stake. You know, when you look at the data around mental health and young adults, you see that over half of college students report that in a previous year, they felt overwhelming anxiety. They felt very lonely. Thirty-two percent report that they felt so depressed it was difficult for them to function. We know that a number of young adults and college students also struggle with issues around substance abuse and binge drinking. Almost half of fulltime college students for example binge drink. So these issues are very significant. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students so in terms of why this is so important, it is so important because these issues affect young adults in a significant way. Young adulthood, age eighteen to twenty-five, is the age the time when most mental illness will first manifest. And so its critically important and as we talked about earlier, it is compounded and made more complicated by the fact that many are hesitant to speak up and to talk and reach out when theyre struggling.

Raymond Hansell
You know something that really impressed us about the Jed Foundation is the sheer number of different initiatives undertaken with so many partners. You really come at this at the with such a variety of approaches. Can you talk a little bit about that?

John Macphee
Yes. So you know, mental health, mental illness, substance abuse, suicide, these are complex problems, right? They are multi-layered and there are often many issues that may be at play and because of that, there is no easy solution or there is no simple solution. The solutions or the way that one would attempt to address these issues also need to be comprehensive in its approach. So we believe that the best way to address these issues and to promote mental health and to prevent self-harm is to come at it in a comprehensive way that looks at the policies and systems in communities, that looks at what families can do to provide support, and also looks at what individuals can do. So youre right. We have a number of partnerships. We believe that all of the parties in this space and in the community working together can do the best work. So we have partnerships with groups such as the Clinton Foundation through their Clinton Health Matters initiative where we work together to help colleges look at their programming. We work with organizations such as MTV and Facebook to disseminate information about mental health to teenagers and young adults. We work with a number of universities, etcetera, so a very important part of the culture and the approach of the Jed Foundation is to work with others in this space to help support young people.

Raymond Hansell
Thats fantastic. Were going to be talking about these very same programs, the diversity of them, and many of the ones that John just mentioned with the Jed Foundation Executive Director John MacPhee and my cohost MarySue, but right now we need to take a short break. In the meantime, Id like to offer this challenge as I always do every week to our listeners. If you know someone whose acts no matter how small are making a big difference in the lives of other people, wed love to hear about them. Please send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com and well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Youre listening to Better Worldians Radio. Were speaking with John MacPhee, the Executive Director of the Jed Foundation, the nations leading organization working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students. And now let me welcome back John and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, John.

John Macphee
Hi. Thanks.

MarySue Hansell
You know, there are so many great programs you started mentioning that you have there at the Jed Foundation that I would like to hear about; Id like our listeners to hear about them. Lets start talking about Love is Louder which is a project between the Jed Foundation and actress Brittany Snow and MTV. Can you tell us all about that?

John Macphee
Yeah. Sure thing. So Love is Louder is a movement that is intended to help individuals, communities, and schools build a resiliency, create connectedness, and promote acceptance. It was started by, as you said, by the actress Brittany Snow along with the Jed Foundation and MTV and it started in 2010 and it was in connection with what was an outpouring of support at the time online after the lives of multiple teenagers were lost to suicide across the summer of 2010. The idea behind Love is Louder is that it is a positive, empowering way to approach these very these difficult issues. And so Love is Louder is meant as a call to arms if you will that love and support are louder than whatever may make someone feel alone or misunderstood or mistreated. So for example, love is louder than hopelessness and anger. Love is louder than anxiety or depression. Love is louder than cruelty or insecurities. Love is louder when we focus on the good, when we are grateful, when we accept others and ourselves for who we are. Love is louder when we look out for each other and those are just some examples of what Love is Louder may mean and does mean to many people. So this movement which we started in 2010 has really been embraced and taken off in particular with with teenagers and young adults. So its one of our primary campaigns intended to promote the emotional wellbeing of young people.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, I see that and I see that a lot of those messages that you mentioned are on Twitter so I think they are really good out there so it gets peoples attention. Also Love is Louder has gotten a lot of attention from young celebrities and how has that helped spread the message?

John Macphee
Yes. There have been a number of young celebrities who have engaged with Love is Louder and it really does help spread the message, you know. Messengers and role models can be very important in spreading the word but also it can be very powerful when a a celebrity that is respected by young people talks about these issues. You know, as we talked about earlier, there is a stigma and a hesitance, a prejudice around mental health issues that holds people back from talking about it and when you see young adults, celebrities openly talking about issues related to mental health, for example Demi Lovato who speaks about mental health in a very powerful way, what that does is it can start to make other people feel more comfortable and it helps normalize this conversation and it helps make people understand that it is okay to talk about these issues and it is okay to ask for support. Celebrities can play a tremendously helpful helpful role in in this work.

MarySue Hansell
How many celebrities have been involved with the movement?

John Macphee
Theres been a number who have posted pictures or videos. People like Kesha and Demi Lovato as I said, Rachel Crow, Pink, Drake. There have been a number who have participated in the campaign which has been just really been terrific.

MarySue Hansell
You know, the message about Love is Louder is so simple yet it is so powerful. How can people get involved?

John Macphee
Yeah so Love is Louder is really about taking action. Its about you know, taking action and reaching out to people to let them know that theyre not alone, to understand that you are not alone if youre struggling. And so in terms of getting involved, you know, I encourage people to follow the movement on Twitter you know, using the Love is Louder hashtag on Facebook, on social media. But also go to the website and take a look at what is there. People in their communities or with their groups could hold an event related to Love is Louder, to talk about these issues, and you can get ideas for events on Love is Louder dot com.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, what kind of events?

John Macphee
Well really just, you know, events in in your community. So for example there is a group, a Love is Louder club that formed at a university and what they do at that university through this club is they take a big board, a very, very big board, and over a period of time, people write the words or the concepts that cause them pain. So you know, some of the concepts we talked about before like hopelessness or violence or hate, anxiety, etcetera, and then they take balloons filled with paint and they throw them against the wall and create this very, very beautiful mural and then they cut it up into pieces and everybody takes their piece of art and its both a physical expression of you know, love overcoming these issues, but its also a great conversation starter and a way for everybody to you know, to talk about to talk about these issues and surface them and address them in a fun way in a community setting.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, I can see that it would open a lot of people up and get a lot of people engaged. What has been the response to Love is Louder from the young people?

John Macphee
The response has been extremely positive. There have been a number of individuals and communities and schools and even organizations that have embraced Love is Louder as a way to address issues like bullying, negative self-image, discrimination, etcetera. So the social media following is now in the hundreds of thousands and growing and there are a number of clubs that have started organically at a grassroots level. At this time we dont have a club program for Love is Louder. Were looking at creating one in response to this organic formation of these clubs, but were now seeing many in communities across high schools and colleges. Even for example in times of crisis we see young people embrace Love is Louder. So for example, after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, local young adult residents took the Love is Louder campaign and crated a Love is Louder than violence campaign and they worked to put yard signs of love is louder than violence across the community and to use it as a way that people could you know, essentially start to deal with their grief and come together as a community around that concept.

MarySue Hansell
Thats great. It sounds like Love is Louder has gone viral.

John Macphee
Yes, it has.

MarySue Hansell
Anyway, lets talk about another program that looked very interesting, You Lifeline. Tell our listeners about that.

John Macphee
Yeah, so You Lifeline is a mental health resource center that is online and it is meant to be a place that college students can go and learn about and understand the various mental health conditions like depression and anxiety and so its a safe and anonymous place where students can go and get information. We developed You Lifeline with leading experts in mental health and higher education but what weve done with You Lifeline is weve set it up with an understanding that many colleges and universities do not have the resources to create their own mental health resource center and then update it on a regular basis. So we created You Lifeline with an ability for colleges, through their counseling center, to register for the site and in registering for the site, they then control real estate on the site itself so that if when a student approaches the site and goes into it, it will say what school do you go to? Ill pick a New York school since Im here in New York. If they say you know, I go to Fordham University, then the information that Fordham has put into the site will populate into the website and so that student as theyre looking for information about mental health on You Lifeline, they can see the information about Fordhams counseling services and the resources that are available at their university to help them. And so this is a site and a resource that some 1,500 colleges and universities participate in. It also offers a self-evaluator where you can go in and you can answer a series of questions and the self-evaluator will screen relative to thirteen mental health disorders and indicate back to the person who took the screener whether or not they should consider visiting the counseling center.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, what type of questions are on the self-evaluator?

John Macphee
Well theyre questions about about how youre feeling, about mood, about you know, levels of depression and anxiety but you know, asked in a way that is getting to potential symptomatology that one might be concerned about. And so overall its a screening for thirteen mental health disorders. It was designed or developed by the Duke University Medical Center.

MarySue Hansell
Oh thats neat. So then it would actually tell the person whether they should seek help at the end of that?

John Macphee
Yeah. I mean, its not a conclusive diagnosis but what it would do is it would say that you know, your responses indicate that you know, you have some symptoms that are consistent with depression. You should consider contacting your counseling center and then it will give the information about how to connect with help, how to connect with help immediately through a hotline but also then how to contact the counseling center. And its all anonymous and so hundreds of thousands a year of students are using the site and tens of thousands are taking that screener.

MarySue Hansell
You know, its really important because I think people would feel very anxious if they feel their name would be exposed so its great that its anonymous. Do any reports get made back to the colleges or to the You Lifeline officials?

John Macphee
They do so that colleges can see the numbers of people utilizing the screener on their campus and they can see what the diagnoses were but they do not have access to the name of the individual. But for example, they could see if you know, there seems to be a trend on the campus, you know, in a certain regard. Perhaps there is a spike in eating disorders for example. They can see that at a community level.

MarySue Hansell
Thats interesting. And I guess they can you know, get ready for those types of illnesses. It helps them prepare I suppose.

John Macphee
Yes. And one of the other things weve done with You Lifeline is that weve partnered with a national fraternity called Sigma Chi and weve helped them what we did is we developed for them a version of You Lifeline that is specifically for their members. That is something that is available and were willing to do with other organizations if they want to have a version of it that is, you know, specific to their population or their community.

MarySue Hansell
You know, one thing I really found interesting is that there is information on there about if you have a friend on Facebook that is posting troubling messages because there is so much of that going on. I know I see them myself. Can you talk about that partnership with Facebook and the Clinton Foundation?

John Macphee
Yes. So so as you said, we did partner with Facebook and the Clinton Foundation and we partnered to develop what we call a help a friend in need guide and its a community guide for Facebook users which describes potential warning signs that might indicate that a friend is in emotional distress and in need of help. But the guide also talks specifically about how those issues might manifest on social media. So for example, instead of expressing in words how that one is in distress, you might see a friend you know, posting videos or pictures or emoticons that indicate that they are very sad or feeling isolated. If you see, you know, that in a repeated way, that is an indication that they may be in distress. The guide also educates people about how you can report if you are worried about somebodys posts on Facebook, how you can report that concern through Facebook and Facebook has a mechanism by which they will look at that with experts and reach out to that person to see if they need help or at least reach out to let them know that a friend is concerned about them and that there are resources that they can connect with.

MarySue Hansell
Now where can our listeners that are on Facebook find this guide? It sounds like a very, very useful thing to have access to.

John Macphee
Yes it is. So its available in the Facebook family safety center. So from Facebook, I think you can just use a search function or look at the menu and get to the family safety center and its in there and you can also find it on the Jed Foundation site which is Jed Foundation dot org.

MarySue Hansell
Ill definitely look for that. You know John, can you share a story of a time when you really personally felt like the Jed Foundation was making a real difference?

John Macphee
Yes. I when we work with colleges and universities and what we do is we give them recommendations for initiatives and programs that they can undertake that will enhance what they are already doing to support mental health, regularly well get back specific feedback related to new programs theyve created, new initiatives that theyve undertaken on campus, and when that happens you know, that is a very gratifying thing for us to see that weve had an impact on how universities are supporting the mental health of their of their students. And secondly, we also get direct feedback from young adults about about them learning about these issues through our programs, so for example Love is Louder, and that the program or you know, the communication, the Love is Louder community as one example motivated them to reach out and get connected with help. In many cases they expressed to us that they believed it saved their lives.

MarySue Hansell
Oh wow, that must really be gratifying.

Raymond Hansell
Well this has been an amazing part of the journey. Were going to continue in just a moment but we need to take one more break and when we come back, well be talking more with John MacPhee and this amazing journey with the Jed Foundation as well as with my cohost Greg. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back now with John MacPhee, the Executive Director of the Jed Foundation.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, John. This is Greg.

John Macphee
Hi, Greg. Thanks for having me on.

Gregory Hansell
I was hoping you could talk to us oh, hey. Its our pleasure. You know, I was hoping you could talk to us about Half of Us which is another unique program you have that reaches out directly to young people.

John Macphee
Yes, so Half of Us is a mental health educational campaign that the Jed Foundation co-owns and operates with MTV. And so the parts of Half of Us are a website, a mental health resource center at Half of Us dot com and its really a terrific mental health resource center, I think one of the best out there for teens and young adults. In this Half of Us partnership with MTV, we work together and we develop public service campaigns about which means really PSAs, television commercials if you will around emotional and mental health issues. There is a pretty significant library of these PSAs available on the website and well run campaigns that show how you can support a friend if youre worried a friend is in distress. The most recent campaign is about prescription drug misuse and it highlights students talking about the issue of prescription drug misuse. What we do with MTV is we develop these campaigns and then they run on MTVU which is MTVs university channel at some seven hundred and fifty to eight hundred colleges and universities where these public service campaigns reach about nine million students. We also work with MTV and at times these PSAs run these PSAs may run on MTV in connection with programming on MTV that may touch upon these issues. So overall the public service campaigns as I said reach some nine or more million students and hundreds of thousands use the website but probably what is greatest about the Half of Us campaign is that these these PSAs are free and they are available for anyone to use for any educational purpose. So a number of schools do use these videos. You know, they can run them for example before movie night on campus or use them as conversation starters with students to have discussions around mental health. The last thing to say about the Half of Us campaign is that we also often ask celebrities to share their stories and so in connection for example with the prescription drug misuse campaign, Macklemore, the recording artist, the Grammy winning recording artist, sits down for about a sixteen minute interview talking about his experiences with prescription drug abuse and the importance of sobriety in his life, so thats another part of the campaign and our effort to educate teenagers and young adults about these issues.

Gregory Hansell
Thats an amazing venue. I was wondering if you could share with our listeners what the significance of the name is.

John Macphee
Yeah, so the significance of the name is really to let people know that theyre not alone. So from the perspective of a young adult, half are experiencing overwhelming anxiety. More than half are lonely. As we said, the numbers are so large that half of us is intended to say hey, you know, this is half of us who are experiencing some issues like this really at any given time.

Gregory Hansell
I think thats, you know, a really, you know, liberating and enlightening statistic. You know, we were chatting about it before this show. I dont think most people realize that the number is that great and that it is so common.

John Macphee
Yes, thats right, and its a really important concept. For example, we know that one of the greatest challenges young people face when they leave home and they leave high school is loneliness and yet you know, its such a common experience and if we could just know that its a common experience and if we could just know that its something we should expect, that will take you a long way in dealing with it successfully as opposed to thinking that you as an individual are unusual in the extent to which you feel loneliness in that situation. So its important that we get the word out about this.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, absolutely. Now I also know you have a really interesting partnership between the Jed Foundation and the Clinton Foundation with the campus program. Can you tell us a bit about that?

John Macphee
Yes. So we do. The Jed Foundation and the Clinton Foundation are partners on a program which is called the Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program and what the program does is it takes the recommended practices that a college can utilize to support the mental health of students, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide. Theres about one hundred activities or initiatives that we ask about so a school joins the program and makes a commitment to improving their mental health program and working with us. They fill out an assessment that asks them about these one hundred areas. We then give them back recommendations as to how they might be able to enhance their program and we offer consulting and technical assistance to the school to help them implement those those initiatives. Over time as were working with schools, in about one year schools will have the opportunity to apply for recognition from the Jed Foundation and the Clinton Foundation to recognize the presence of a comprehensive mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention program at that campus. And so over time, this will probably be in about eighteen or twenty-four months, we will start recognizing schools with a seal that do have this kind of comprehensive safety net in place. And so that is the that is the campus program.

Gregory Hansell
That is excellent. You know, one thing that we also thought was additionally interesting was that you know, in addition to targeting college aged students, a difficult time in young peoples lives, you also have some resources for parents who have to let go of their children and to some extent let them kind of go out on their own. What are some of the resources you have there?

John Macphee
Yes, well so first the campus program is intended to be one of those resources. So we think about the college selection process, its very rare that families and parents ask about mental health services at the college and ask about the culture as it relates to trying to foster help seeking among students. So that right there is one of the first things that we want to engage parents about because when we all as a society, parents, alumni, community leaders start asking our schools, our high schools to have good programming that helps prepare students for the transition to young adulthood and college and starts asking colleges to have all of this programming in place, were going to make a tremendous difference. So when it comes to the resources that we have for parents, our resources include the college program, a number of tools and advice that we have for parents on our website and another website called transition year. The concept really there is about educating parents about these issues, you know, letting parents know that if their child has had a history of emotional health issues or substance abuse issues, its critically important that they consider that in the college selection process and its important that they tell the counseling center at the school that this history exists and that they setup a support network for their student before they arrive at the school. And if there is no history, it is still very important for parents and families to know that the age of expression of most psychiatric illnesses is eighteen to twenty-five and so that they need to know as their young adult goes off that they may run into an issue and they need to know what that looks like and they need to be talking about it openly so that their young adult child will feel comfortable reaching back out to them and speaking up if they are struggling.

Gregory Hansell
Sure. I mean, I remember myself. It was a difficult time for all of us. I was the first one to go off to college and those can be really tricky times. You know, so weve talked a lot about the summary of all of these amazing programs you have but Im curious about what you see as the future of the Jed Foundation.

John Macphee
Yes. So as it relates to the future of the Jed Foundation, its our hope and plan to be working with colleges and universities across the country on their programming and helping them really and being a really trusted resource and help with as many schools as we possibly can so that when were, you know, downstream in five or ten years, you know, we can really say that most schools in the country have a comprehensive, thoughtful mental health safety net in place and they are looking at that and they are planning around it on an annual basis. The Jed Foundation is an integral part to helping schools do that. At the high school level, wed like to see high schools have a similar program and effort but around helping their students prepare for the transition out of high school and into young adulthood and the Jed Foundation will be a big part of that as well. Then well continue as we have, directly reaching out through multiple channels to try to educate teenagers and young adults. In the future there is to get to a place where people under the age of thirty are as comfortable talking about mental health as they are about physical health and that the stigma is gone and that its a its a generation that will reach out for help when theyre struggling with an emotional health issue just as they would if they had very serious back pain.

Gregory Hansell
Wow. Its a wonderful mission and a wonderful vision of where youre headed. So how can the people at home listening get involved to help support the Jed Foundation?

John Macphee
Yeah so I would say first the most important thing is for people to start talking about mental health and you know, to reflect on whether or not they are too quiet or hesitant to talk about it or impacted by stigmas and to start talking about it and to be open about how they feel and in the communities and the families theyre in to work to make it a safe environment for anyone who might be struggling to speak up. Specifically with the Jed Foundation, it would be great if people could you know, join our newsletter, check out our site, offer to volunteer, make a donation if they are able to do that, and for people who have relationships with local college/university, talk to the college/university about whether they are participating in our campus program and let them know about the resources that are available to help them.

Gregory Hansell
Well you know, I would be remiss I think if I didnt ask you two questions. One is if someone right now is listening to our show today and they feel like they need some help, what do you recommend they do?

John Macphee
Yeah so if someone is feeling like they need help, they should talk to a trusted friend, they should call the national suicide prevention lifeline which is at 1-800-273-TALK. It is a twenty-four hour/seven day a week support line staffed by counselors that can help people connect to the support and help they need. If someone feels if someone is in severe emotional distress or theyre showing any warning signs of suicide or feeling suicidal thoughts at all, then they should call 911 and they should get to a mental health professional or to a hospital right away. One last resource though is a crisis text line. Young people often feel more comfortable texting than talking and there is a new service available. Its a 24/7 text line and so if you text 741-741, then youre connected with the crisis text line and it is staffed by counselors who will text back and forth mostly with teenagers and young adults and thats another great resource.

Gregory Hansell
Those are great. Could you repeat that hotline and that text line for us again?

John Macphee
Yes, so the the lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. The crisis text line is 741-741.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you. And you know, the other question is of course if someone is listening and they are beginning to worry about a friend who may be struggling, what should they do?

John Macphee
Well so they can they can talk to their friend and actually the guide, the help a friend guide that we talked about that we developed with the Clinton Foundation and Facebook has recommendations about how to talk to a friend as part of it, but they should express their concern to their friend and ask them if they can help, if they can connect them to help or resources, and if in that conversation they feel their friend is in severe distress or they express any suicidal thoughts, then they should get the friend to an emergency room or call 911. But again, I think the main takeaway point is talk about this and you can only really do good by talking about these issues and expressing how deeply you care about a friend and that youre concerned about them.

Gregory Hansell
That is wonderful. Thank you for letting everyone know about those resources they have available for themselves and their friends and loved ones. You know, one question I ask at the end of every episode and we somewhat covered this a few minutes ago but I wanted to give you a few more minutes to talk about it at length is, you know, how do you hope the work at the Jed Foundation will help make the world a better place?

John Macphee
Yeah so the hope, the vision here is that through the work that were doing and others are doing in this field is that we will increase awareness about mental health, increase it dramatically so that, you know, conversations are happening as frequently as they happen around physical health, that help seeking will be normalized, right, that we all when were struggling with an emotional mental health issue will feel comfortable and will reach out for support and that our academic institutions have the right kind of safety nets in place to help identify students that might be at risk and get them connected with help.

Raymond Hansell
Thats amazing. This is Ray again, John. I have to say we only just scratched the surface of the many great services that the Jed Foundation offers. Please, to our listeners, please a reminder here. You can find out more about the Jed Foundation by going directly to Jed Foundation dot com. You know, Mother Teresa has famously said, and we had this on one of our previous shows called Mother Teresa and Me, Im not anti-war. Im for peace. As we heard today, Love is Louder is a great example of being for something, for gratitude, for involvement, for engagement, for looking out for someone else. We support love is louder in that mission to promote love as the antidote to bullying, to violence, to depression, to suicide. Better Worldians Radio is proud to promote that message by giving voice to people just like John MacPhee and organizations like the Jed Foundation that are doing the work of making it a better world. John, wed like to thank you for joining us today on Better Worldians Radio.

John Macphee
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Please listen next week to all of our listeners when well be talking with Dr. John Arden, the author of Rewire Your Brain. Hell talk about the simple things you can do as he says, to think your way to a better life. We have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks and if you know an unsung better worldian who would make a great guest on our show, you can send us an email at Better Worldians dot com. Wed like to thank everyone today for listening. You can also join the better worldian community at Better Worldians dot com. And until next time, everyone please be a better worldian.