Equity in Mental Health On Campus

The Equity in Mental Health on Campus (EMHC) initiative is designed to guide and support institutions through a transformative process that makes the mental health of students of color a campus wide priority. Our goal is to better equip schools across the country to prioritize this important work.  Through EMHC, colleges and universities join a cohort that meets regularly to share responsibility, build knowledge, make investments, innovate, and learn from each other. Each campus works to address campus racial climate, policies, programs and services to better support the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. Our approach is grounded in equity-centered research and best practices, and is informed by the Equity in Mental Health Framework developed in collaboration with the Jed Foundation (JED) and the Steve Fund’s Crisis Response Task Force report which situates student experience in the time of the pandemic and racial injustice movements.

The Equity In Mental Health Framework

The EMHF was designed to address the significant inequities in mental health and the disparities faced by students of color. It is the result of a partnership between the Steve Fund and JED focused on addressing the mental health and emotional well-being needs among college and university students of color. The Framework provides colleges and universities with recommendations and implementation strategies to help inform, support and strengthen the mental health of their students of color. The framework was launched in late 2017 by the Steve Fund and JED. Following the launch, the team developed and delivered a pilot implementation of the EMHF with 18 schools around the country.


The Equity in Mental Health on Campus Approach
The Equity in Mental Health on Campus Approach

Throughout an 18 month commitment, the campus steering committee, with support from the Steve Fund staff and assigned coach, will participate in the following process using a Design Thinking approach:

  • Team Composition: Create a diverse campus team of administrators, staff, faculty, & students. Assign co-liaisons to support the team and interact with Steve Fund staff. 
  • Needs Assessment: Conduct a campus-specific needs assessment and gather existing institutional data.
  • Action Planning: Develop campus-specific, actionable, and measurable goals to address students’ mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Campus Action: Develop or refine campus policies, programming, or practices with the support of Steve Fund experts and coaches.
  • Evaluation, Sustainability, and Continuous Improvement: Evaluate the process, identify achievements, and develop plan for next steps and sustainability. 
  • Learning Community of Action: Through carefully designed sessions, participating institutions will meet regularly as a cohort and using the design thinking process, engage on topics that are relevant across campuses, share challenges, and exchange best practices. During learning community cohort meetings, The Steve Fund’s diverse network of mental health experts and higher education professionals will present and facilitate discussions.

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EMHC Application Form
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