On March 9, Cornell University launched its Coalition on Mental Health. The coalition comprises over 80 students, staff, and faculty members and is chaired by Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi.
The coalition serves as a forum for discourse and information dissemination on emerging trends, research findings, and campus initiatives related to campus health and well-being. The coalition will examine student health priorities including the promotion of mental health and the prevention of suicide, alcohol and other drug abuse, and hazing. It will also address the intersection of these priority areas with sexual and interpersonal violence and bias.
The coalition builds on the role that the former university Council on Mental Health and Well-Being played from 2004–2016, as well as past councils on alcohol and other drugs and hazing prevention. The university’s Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention continues to serve a corresponding role in relation to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking.
The coalition’s first meeting focused on Cornell’s Mental Health Framework. A standing-room-only turnout underscored the importance of mental health to the Cornell community. Coalition members discussed the framework, potential new strategies, and areas for improvement.
The coalition’s April meeting examined Cornell’s participation in JED Campus, an initiative of the JED Foundation. The first phase of Cornell’s involvement in the initiative was an external review conducted by JED. The review’s report and Cornell’s response are posted here on the Cornell Health website.
One function of the coalition is to facilitate communication about upcoming events and the activities various student organizations, including Cornell Minds Matter, Reflect at Cornell, and the Student Mental Health Task Force. In addition, the coalition includes representatives from the undergraduate Student Assembly and Graduate and Professional Students Assembly.
In the coming academic year, the Coalition on Mental Health will meet at least twice a semester and continue examination of ideas, challenges, and opportunities to support the health and well-being of the Cornell campus community. For more information (including meeting minutes and membership list), visit Cornell Health’s Campus Leadership & Health Campaigns page.
—By Timothy Marchell
Timothy Marchell, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a clinical psychologist and director of the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Cornell Health